Sept. 1, 2005
Hurricane Katrina - Help via Alumni Associations?
I just had an idea; not sure whether it's practical. Would it make sense for college alumni associations to gather information on specific needs from their graduates? Professional organizations, unions, and other membership groups have a similar opportunity to help make connections all across the country. For example, I've lost touch with several friends and acquintances from my college days. It wouldn't surprise me if some of them lived in New Orleans, but I don't have an easy way to find out who might be affected. While it's vital to support general charities, a personal relationship or shared affinity can open up additional types of assistance.
For example, it's very hard to open one's home to a stranger, especially for an extended stay. But, it's much easier with someone you know, or can vouch for via a mutual friend. The same applies to personal loans, whether in cash or big-ticket items such as motor homes, campers, computers (to help people telecommute), appliances, and furniture (in the months ahead).
As long as this personal assistance is above and beyond what is given to charity, it frees up some of the charitable resources to go to those who are most in need.
Note to bloggers: I'm happy for someone else to "own" this story, e.g. to gather links and report any success stories. (I don't have comments here -- or much traffic.) Meanwhile, I'll try to post "Katrina Alumni" info sent to me: Pajamasphere -at- product architect -dot- com.
For general charitable contributions, see recommendations gathered on Instapundit's Katrina blogburst.