Monday, September 05, 2005

Katrina evacuees in Atlanta

Okay, I'm suspending this blog's schtick for the time being and going over to citizen journalist bloggage. Nothing particularly scoopy, just what I happen to see and hear.

Those inclined to help the evacuees need not confine
themselves to the area shelters. It looks like a good plenty of them
are put up at the motels around the Atlanta perimeter. Word came to
me that a lot were at a motel near my place of work, and the manager
was asking for donations of supplies, to be delivered for storage to a
nearby community center. So, I went down there and got their list,
and set about whittling it down to what I could afford to buy. I then
went shopping at Sams for a few items on the long list of necessities.

There I spoke with a couple in the next checkout line, hauling
three flatbed trucks piled high with bottled water, hot dogs, and
buns. They were, of their own initiative, road-tripping down to
Biloxi to deliver a meal to people they'd seen on TV. I wished them
well, and then set off for home.

Got home, weathered a domestic spat about having spent too
much, and then went down 285 to the community center. It was in a
projects, nowhere I'd care to be caught after dark. But it was
bustling, with the common area lined with baby supplies, and people
bringing things in. The head guy came out and unloaded my vehicle,
wished me a blessed day, and hurried back inside.

Phoned around to my own church, discovered that it is a
drop-off depot for MUST ministries, which runs the Elizabeth Inn, and
for Kennestone hospital. A lot of the patients who were evacuated
from Gulf hospitals to Kennestone have been accompanied by relatives,
who didn't have a change of dry clothes. So, I'll spend a couple of
hours tomorrow at the church receiving drop-offs. I'll do the same a
few days later, on my day off. Maybe I'll get to deliver stuff, too.
That's always the spiritual payoff for me, seeing the good a donation
does. I really wish I could hit the road with a work camp, like I did in
the south Georgia floods of 1994. And later, once the government's
gotten out of the way and the media attention has moved on, maybe I
will. But this little bit will have to suffice for now.

Went to Lowe's for some unrelated shopping. A very morose
checkout girl asked if I wanted to give to the Red Cross. When I said
I had given on the internet, she thanked me with a sad, faraway voice.
I asked if she had folks there, and she said her grandfather was among
those trapped at the NO convention center. I made the appropriate
noises and left.

Came home from shopping Sunday afternoon, and passed a couple
of contractor's pickups driving in convoy. They had their trailers
loaded with their bobcat, their generators, lots of gas cans, & etc.
They had duct-taped hand-scrawled signs over the sides of the trucks
and the back of the trailers: "disaster reliefs". I assume they were
heading to the Gulf to aid in cleanup. I pulled up beside each one's
right window, honked, and gave 'em the thumbs up.

I hope the readers with a race fixation can loosen up and have
a little basic human compassion for these people. "Even as you have
done it to the least of these, so you have done it to Me," the verse
says. It's a golden opportunity, for those who know what the real treasure in life is.

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