Dear Carolinas, Advice From Louisiana: Keep The Relief Donations LOCAL

As I write this, I’ve got The Weather Channel on in the background watching all-too-familiar scenes of hurricane coverage. We know that the storm will pass and the recovery can last for years. The anticipation leading up to the storm is excellent attention-grabbing news. Shots of storm surge ushering damaging water into coastal homes, leaving destruction (and sand-filled living rooms) are fascinating. Watching the roof come off of a gas station is … interesting. Watching the trees bend to the point of near breaking behind a kamikaze weather man from the comfort of my couch (this time) is … entertaining(?).

After the storm, the news coverage will taper off. The weather man and his full-body slicker have lived to fight another day and are on to another pier hoping to be hit with just the right wave.

hurricane reliefFor those that will be in recovery, now is the time to capitalize on the focused attention – and help people that want to help you by giving them a funnel for their money. Plain and simple – donations are GREAT and all, but money funneled to operations that are local, on the ground and ALREADY doing the work are much better situated to have those donations (I’m talking straight cash) go further than, say, a generic donation to a larger national organization like the Red Cross.

Now, I don’t want this post to turn into a Red Cross bash, but it’s the first generic donation folks are called to make when they aren’t sure where else to put their good will. When in fact, money given (and gotten) to the local folks and organizations already on the ground can make MUCH better use of that scratch.  

I’m calling on the local folks to make a list of these places. 

  1. Find someone who is being proactive and who has electricity / influence.
  2. Check with local food banks or food pantries.
  3. Local Habit for Humanity might be able to help with re-build.
  4. Local churches start to organize this stuff – some denominations are connected throughout the region / country to mobilize volunteers.
  5. CREATE AN AMAZON WISHLIST. This makes it easy for someone ANYWHERE to get you what you need and have it delivered directly to you.  

SHARE SHARE SHARE the people / organizations that you KNOW are doing good and get the money where it’s needed. 

Money is best – those in recovery can buy exactly what they need WHEN they need it and not have to store any donations for later. That can also put money back into the local economy, which is a win-win. 

Keep that money local. 

Kristen is still in the middle of her love story. She and her best friend of four years gave in and finally decided to date. Two years later, she was engaged. Two years after that, she was married. She’ll celebrate her 17th wedding anniversary this May. Mom to Ellen (8) and James (5), she works full time in Human Resources outside of the home. Her children have taught her that motherhood is hard. And wonderful. And HARD. A proud alum of LSU and Johnson and Wales University, she also collects college degrees. (BS in Psychology, AS in Culinary Arts and BS in Culinary Nutrition). She’s lived in Baton Rouge a majority of her life, with sojourns in New Orleans, Charleston, SC and Providence, RI. The south is clearly home. Recovering from a nearly crippling case of adolescent insecurity, she is still the most likely to have the heel of her shoe caught in the hem of her pants.


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