Helpless Hands

(Listening to Tom Waits. Audioblog at bottom of post. You could click and listen while you read!)
Here I sit, waiting to hear, waiting to go…Needless to say, things are an organizational mess in Louisiana and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast. Aside from governmental ineptitude and failures, the very nature of this disaster makes it well nigh impossible to coordinate relief efforts in an efficient fashion.

At this point, as far as the American Red Cross goes, they have 675 shelters open in 23 States. Here in Michigan, we have a Days Inn with 72 families. Since the goal is to keep people constantly moving towards resettling into the most normalized situation possible, with children in schools and families in homes, everyone is, well, constantly moving.

I have a worry and that is that in our rush to recover, repair, fix and problem solve we will do that American thing: go for the quick term fix and forget about the long view. When I hear about immediately releasing over a hundred billion dollars to rebuild- where?- 15 feet below sea level! I cringe. (Here’s a thought: What would this country look like if all the shoreline were National Shoreline or land held by, say, Nature Conservancy? We could just gradually acquire it as cities go underwater, get blown away or slide into the oceans.) And when I hear about relocating all these people thousands of miles from their community, climate and social order I worry about- of course- the mental health angle. A person’s history, heritage and experiences don’t just disappear as life moves forward.

But, what can you do? Be hopeful and prayerful and continue to act with charity and tolerance. Continue to speak up and out against what is clearly wrong, keeping in mind Marshall McLuhan’s adage: The Medium is the Massage. (Another thought- a good therapeutic massage, especially for all those unsettled little tykes and babies and mothers, might be a comfort right about now.)

In addition to the audioblog today, I thought a couple fact sheets might help you, just a bit, to know that good things are happening.

As of Sept. 9, the American Red Cross has raised over 503 million dollars, over half of it from your online click donations.
With it they have and are:

operating 675 shelters in 23 States
-caring for 161,000 survivors
-using 39,000 trained volunteers
-feeding more than 6 million full meals and 5.9 million hot snacks, in coordination with The Southern Baptist Convention
-registered more than 46,000 people and received more than 85,000 inquiries at 1-877-LOVED, the Red Cross link that reconnects families..

Locally the following businesses have worked to support our Washtenaw Chapter of the Red Cross in the wake of Katrina:

Advantage Computing Systems
Ann Arbor Computer
Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce
Ann Arbor Machine Company
Ann Arbor Machine Division
Ann Arbor City Employees
Arbortext Inc.
AT & T College and University Systems
Automatic Data Processing Inc.
Baseview Products
Bell & Howell – Zeeb Road
Beth Israel Congregation
Beyond Interactive
Black & Veatch Corporation
Borders Group Inc.
Bortz Health Care of Ypsilanti
Center for Forensic Psychiatry
CFI Group
Charles Reinhart Company Realtors
Chelsea Community Blood Drive sponsored by Chelsea Churches
Chelsea Community Hospital
Chelsea High School
Christian Love Fellowship Church
Church of Christ – Ann Arbor
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Clevite Engine Parts/Dana Corporation
Communications Workers of America Local 401
Community High School
ComShare Inc.
Concordia College
Creative Solutions Inc.
DaimlerChrysler Chelsea Proving Grounds
Dexter High School
Dixboro United Methodist
Domino’s Farms
Domino’s Pizza World Headquarters
Eagle Crest Conference Resort
Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Michigan University Alpha Phi Omega
Eastern Michigan University Omega Phi Alpha
Eaton Corporations
Edwards Brothers Inc.
Engineered Plastic Products
Environmental Protection Agency
Environmental Quality Inc.
Exemplar Manufacturing Company
First Presbyterian Church Ann Arbor
First United Methodist Church of Saline
First United Methodist Church of Ypsilanti
Flint Ink Corporation
Gabriel Richard High School
Genomic Solutions Inc.
Glacier Hills
GM Powertrain – Willow Run Plant
Graceway Baptist Church
Great Lakes National Bank
Hatch Stamping
Hawthorne Suites
Holmes Elementary School
Home Depot – Ypsilanti
Homebuilders Association
Hunt Club Apartments
Huron High School
Huron Valley Center
Huron Valley Men’s Facility
JAC Products Inc.
Lincoln High School
Knights of Columbus 2959
KMS 700
Kroger – South Maple
Malloy Lithographing Inc.
Manchester Community Blood Drives
McNaughton McKay Electric Company
Mechanical Dynamics
Michigan State Police
Milan High School
Murray’s Discount Auto
Northfield Township Senior Center
NSF International
NSK Corporation
One on One Athletic
Pall Corporation
Pioneer High School
Rainbow Rehabilitation Centers Inc.
Sam’s Club
St. Andrews Church – Dexter
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
St. Joseph Catholic Church
St. Joseph Mercy Health System
St. Lukes Lutheran Church
St. Mary Student Parish
St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church
St. Patrick Catholic Church
St. Thomas Catholic Church
Saline Community Blood Drives
Saline Community Hospital
Saline Cooperative Preschool
Saline High School
Saline Industries
Saline Parks and Recreation
Sears Roebuck and Company
Sheridan Books – Ann Arbor
Sheridan Books Inc.
Slauson Middle School
Sensors Inc.
Stoney Creek United Methodist Church
TCF Bank
Terumo Cardiovascular
Thetford Corporation
Thompson Associates
Thomson-Shore Inc.
Toyota Technical
Tumbleweed Communications
UAW Local 898
U of M Alpha Phi Omega
U of M Anesthesia Associates
U of M Black Law Students
U of M Department of Public Safety
U of M Dental Students
U of M Galens Honor Medical Society/Furstenberg Commons
U of M Greek System
U of M Hillel
U of M Hospitals
U of M Hospitals Kellogg Eye Center
U of M Hospitals – N. Ingalls
U of M League
U of M M-Fit – Ann Arbor Ice Cube
U of M MedEquip
U of M Physics Department
U of M Plant Operations
U of M School of Public Health
U of M Sigma Chi Chapter
U of M Tri-Services
U of M Web Services
UPS Workers
US Federal Correctional Institute
Vector Research
Veterans Administration Hospital
Visteon General Product
Visteon Milan Plastic Plant
Visteon Rawsonville Plant
Visteon Saline Instrument and Plastics Plant
Visteon Ypsilanti Plant
Washtenaw Community College
Washtenaw County Employees
Washtenaw County Road Commission
Washtenaw County Office of the Sheriff
Washtenaw Intermediate School District
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Whitmore Lake High School
Willow Run High School
Wolverine Towers
YMCA of Ann Arbor
Ypsilanti National Guard
Ypsilanti Community Utilities Authority
Ypsilanti High School
Zion Lutheran Church

11 responses to “Helpless Hands

  1. Good for you; all those businesses, etc. need awareness for what they are doing!

  2. Might be shorter if you run a list of who is NOT helping. Nice work, Ann Arbor citizens.

  3. A very helpful post Thank you.

    Vcki, I’m watching the football game, being a ND alum. I have a feeling Michigan is going to come back strong in the second half. We’ll see.

    My gradute advisor is now at UM and I have good memories of doing research there. A great campus.

  4. Oh, YAY for Ann Arbor! But, go Fighting Irish!

    There is great common sense in your analysis, Vicki. Will anyone listen?

    Chilling out with Tom Waits…thanks!

  5. The problem with NOT rebuilding is that NOLA is the largest seaport in the US and handles the majority of midwestern agriculture exports and a majority of supplies into the midlands. Had there not been a need to rebuild, the Feds would certainly have considered the necessity of investing so heavilly into rebuilding. Sure, they’re positioning a NOLA revival in largely nostalgic terms but realistically, there is no area better suited for port duties and it makes no sense to disregard the extant infrastructure.

    As global warming continues, the problems of NOLA won’t be unique. Other US cities will soon be faced with needing to build levees.

  6. The Waits was perfect for this. It’s so heartening to see the names of all the organizations helping out.

  7. I’ve been in the aftermath of a large tornado before. Even having areas of the city or town completely untouched, the sifting through debris, clearing of trees and fragments of homes is never efficient. Efficient is such a clinical term, I’m not sure it could ever be assigned to any type of human tragedy either widewpread or individual. Everyone is doing their part. William and Mary formed a relief group that Nyssa is getting involved in. She plans to go with them over spring break to MS. They decided to send money they raise now and then use their brawn later when rebuilding gets into full swing. The school also took in 7 undergraduates and 5 law students from Tulane.

    Oh! Vicki, I just saw the score of the game…..soooo sorry! OU let me down last week as well. W&M beat VMI today 41 – 7, but I don’t get the feeling that the students are that “rabid” about their football team.

  8. Vicki, thanks especially for this post. It is heartening to think of all of the good willed individuals who make it possible for the businesses to help. Let me know if there is something that I can do to help you while you help out in New Orleans.

  9. Even in Washington state, we have people with close ties to Louisiana, relatives they can’t locate and pain about the loss of a city full of music, history, and culture. The security guard at my new junior high(who used to work with me at my high school) can’t locate some of his family down there. I was amazed by that list and hope the list is as long for my area. By the way, I think Jim is right. The problem with rebuilding farther away is the port aspect. Unfortunately, most Californians and even Washingtonians should be relocated too, since we live on a major earthquake fault and are just marking time until the big one hits.

  10. We no longer care that much about the Wolverines. My allegiance is fickle. The sad news is that USF lost to Penn St.

    My comment about a National Shoreline was mostly tongue in cheek much as I like the idea. I realize nothing is that easy or simple- but it’s worth remembering that the heretofore worst natural disaster in the United States did have permanent repercussions. Galveston, prior to the Great Hurricane of 1900, was considered the “New York City of the West.” That hurricane killed 6,000 people, mostly through flooding and the city never recovered. Instead business and industry moved north to Houston where it remains. “Issac’s Storm” is a great book on this subject and especially timely now.

  11. Aurora, did you see any in Ann Arbor. Someone has a picture on the net from Ann Arbor with the most beautiful sky. Just wondered if you had been able to see any display.

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