Pete Lee

Thursday, September 08, 2005

How You Can Help

I've seen lots of e-mails from various mailing lists around with people asking how they can help. From everything I've observed thus far, here's what I'd say...

1) Donate cash to the American Red Cross. Yes, it seems very mundane, but quite frankly, it's on par with actually volunteering. Because of logistical issues and policies regarding equitable treatment of victims, things like used clothing and canned food drives aren't very useful in terms of this disaster. From the experiences I've gotten with the Red Cross from training this week, I'd have to say that I'm impressed overall. The cash is used to support volunteer efforts (plane tickets, incidental expenses), buy food and supplies for shelters, replace prescriptions and eyeglasses, and lots of other things. I'd say of all the organizations I've seen, the Red Cross is probably your best bet for monetary donations. Any extra money they collect will be used to help other victims, both here and abroad.

2) Immediately donate your time to the American Red Cross. You can go down to 1712 NE Sandy Blvd and fill out a local volunteer form. They especially have a need for people who can help out in the daytime hours during the week. This will allow you to start helping almost immediately, and is based on whatever free time you have.

3) Get involved with something a little more specialized. You can start immediately with #2, or start by getting online training. The Introduction to Disaster Services is required for any of their specialties, and is a quick and simple primer on the history, mission and general policies of the Red Cross. This will allow you to specialize in areas such as case work, feeding and sheltering. The Red Cross training is free and of very good quality. If you opt to go this route, take the online course, and then call the Oregon Trail chapter for the latest information on new classes scheduled for this disaster. (You didn't hear this from me, but you can also just try showing up when you see the class time. Let the folks at the security desk know you're there for disaster relief training.) People from all backgrounds are useful: secretaries, business consultants, sales/marketing/PR, healthcare workers, carpentry, food service industry--it's all good and useful. There is also a urgent need for case workers (you can get trained on this) and mental health professionals for adults and children.


  • Another idea: If you can't take the time off work to go and volunteer, sponsor someone who can. This may include paying their bills while they're gone, paying for airline tickets or gear, or donating vacation to them.

    Go get 'em, Pete.

    By Anonymous pdx_refugee, at Thursday, September 08, 2005 7:46:00 PM  

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