Give through the groups you know best

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Somehow, Katrina was the hurricane that caught all of us by surprise. We knew the storm had gone through the New Orleans area, but not until after the levees broke and the city became inundated did it sink in across the nation how horrendous the disaster was.

The finger-pointing and blaming has already begun, but there will be plenty of time for that later. Now is the time for all of us to consider just what we might do to help victims of the storm.

We are all stung by the high price of gasoline, but imagine not having a vehicle to put it in ... nor a home to drive it to after it's filled up.

Many residents of the South face a lack of even more basic needs -- food, water, shelter, clothing, medication and vital medical care. And true to form, Nebraskans are answering the call.

Individuals and groups have offered to take refugees.

Civic organizations are shifting into gear to do the work they do best, and special offerings and projects at area churches are being funneled into the relief effort.

There will be more and more opportunities to help as efforts are organized and specific needs are known, but as always, there are bound to be scammers taking advantage of the tragedy.

If you want to give, the best advice is to stick with the organizations you have known and trusted over the years.

For starters, we suggest the American Red Cross and Salvation Army.

Both of them have a long record of serving our area as well as soliciting our help, through bloodmobiles in the case of the Red Cross, and through assistance of the down-and-out through the red kettle collection in the Salvation Army's case.

Contact the American Red Cross through its Lincoln County Chapter, 1111 S. Cottonwood, North Platte, NE 69101 (308) 534-7350 ext. 200.

The Salvation Army's address is 1020 N. Adams Ave., North Platte NE 69101, (308) 532-2038.

Or, contact your local church or service club in which you are involved. Be as generous as you can. Our friends and neighbors in the Mississippi Delta need the help.

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