Many of you have asked what you can do.
- First of all, please begin prayer for those in the eye of the storm and everyone on the Gulf Coast. This storm is bringing up the fear and anxiety of those who went through Hurricane Katrina. The third anniversary was yesterday and many events were cancelled as citizens, governments, and businesses began to make preparations for Gustav.
- Next, you can organize a team to respond. This should be a team with chainsaws, muck-out buckets, first aid supplies, non-perishable food items, toiletries, and your own food and water. We will not know what the conditions will be upon entering a disaster area and if you are prepared to provide your own needs for at least the first few days you are responding, the less burden you place on the local services for the citizens of the community. Type of people to have on your team include emotional counselors, carpenters, heavy equipment operators, people ready and willing to do muck-outs, fix roofs, remove debris, and provide comfort to those affected by this storm. Make sure you prepare adequately with proper clothing, toiletries, shoes, hats, and water!
- Organize donation center in your community. Some VERY HELPFUL TIPS when coordinating donations - THE LESS "JUNK" YOU ACCEPT, THE MORE HELPFUL YOUR DONATION is to those affected by the storm. Important items to collect will include the following canned and dry foods, paper plates, plastic utensils, clean socks, diapers, toiletries and personal care items (shampoos, razors for shaving, deodorant, soap, etc), sanitizing wipes, bug spray, sunscreen, buckets, cleaning items, brooms, and certain clothes items. When it comes to clothes, please keep this in mind - if you would not wear it, do not send it. There will be a need for clothing, but please be respectful to those to whom you are sending it. Shoes, pants, shorts, shirts, and hats are all great, if they are clean or new. When collecting donations, have a plan for getting the items to the area. This process can be a major headache or can go smoothly if you take some planned actions. Call the area you want to send the items...this could be local or state government, churches, friends or family in the area, etc...and make sure they know the donations are coming. Tell them what you are collecting, how much you are planning to send, approximate date it will arrive, and who is driving the items. This will almost guarantee that your donations will reach those that truly need them! Also, make sure you plan for transportation costs (fuel, vehicle, lodging, driver's time) while collecting your donations. Finally, as you collect items, have a collection plan or the vehicle on-site to load as you collect.
- Finally, we need your help financially to begin to provide relief and response activities immediately after the storm. You can do this through Network for Good. Donations will come directly do us and it is a safe and easy way to quickly make sure your donations will directly impact the response effort for Hurricane Gustav.
We are busy securing our volunteer center in Pass Christian and making sure our equipment and tools are secured and in a safe area. We will do our best to respond to emails and will most likely do so through this blog. Thank you for your preparation for response!
Restoration Point Foundation