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Donations pour in from across valley

If you want to help shelter-bound victims of Hurricane Katrina, don’t send clothes or other goods, send money.

That’s the message from several local and national organizations helping with the Gulf Coast relief effort. The groups held a press conference Thursday evening in the Glenwood Springs City Council chambers to announce what Roaring Fork Valley residents can do to help those who lost their homes during the hurricane.

Many organizations are helping displaced families who come to western Colorado in a variety of ways. But the best way to help the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and other relief groups is to send them money, because there is neither a need nor a way to distribute food and clothing from Glenwood, the groups’ representatives said.



“The things that are needed are new items: hygiene items, cleaning products, diapers, things like that,” said Micaela Johns, Glenwood Springs Salvation Army operations manager.

“Donating the money, it’s more cost-effective for us to go out and buy the items locally rather than us sort it, store it and ship it.”



One hundred percent of the money donated to the Salvation Army for hurricane relief will go to that cause, Johns said.

LIFT-UP Executive Director Mike Powell said his organization has a large supply of clothes, but said there is little demand for them.

“My organization is prepared to provide food and clothing for people who show up in this area,” he said of potential evacuees.

Jean Hermanson, of the Western Colorado Chapter of the Red Cross, said monetary donations are also welcome. Nine percent of each donation covers the Red Cross’ administrative costs, she said.

While the Red Cross has 18,000 relief workers helping hurricane victims on the Gulf Coast, it is also helping families evacuating to the Glenwood area. So far, she said, only about five families have relocated here.

Other organizations, including many churches, are finding other ways to help.

Marie Gasau, pastor of the Basalt United Methodist Church, said her congregation is creating health kits composed of towels, soap, toothbrushes and other items, and shipping them to Louisiana. Congregation members met Thursday night to discuss how to help displaced families moving here.

Nationally, she said, the United Methodist Church is helping evacuees settle in cities such as Houston.

The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Glenwood has already helped one displaced family that relocated here and is trying to establish a relationship with a Gulf Coast congregation to help its community, said Good Shepherd pastor Jeff Carlson.

Thom Zieman, of Catholic Charities in Glenwood, suggested donating money, but he said that the organization is willing to help evacuees who come to the Roaring Fork Valley in whatever way it can.

The United Way of Garfield County is serving as a local clearinghouse for calls concerning donations for hurricane relief.

Leslie Robinson, director of the local United Way, suggested that people who can’t afford large donations donate a small amount per month.

After all, Zieman said, its the small donations that keep Catholic Charities and similar organizations afloat.

Robinson said that those looking for a place to donate money can call her at 625-8189. She will direct callers to the correct charity organizations.

Contact Bobby Magill: 945-8515, ext. 520

bmagill@postindependent.com


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