Emergency Relief

I’d like to do something to help the Katrina refugees. But I’m not in a position to take a boat and a palletload of water and MREs to Lousiana. So: short of that, does anyone have any idea what’s the most helpful thing we can do for them right now?

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  1. I say donate to the local red cross or another help type organization. Where it is food or money. I know how you feel. There is something about when things happen like this you just want to help your fellow man. Though some people it just brings out the worse in them.

  2. Donate money to a reputable charity, give blood. Money is the best thing over food, clothes and other supplies for the short term. NOLA and the surrounding areas aren’t going to know the extent of the damage or the costs until months down the road when they can get in there and clean things out.

  3. Giving blood will be good for you to. Just be sure to drink lots of water before hand.

  4. (cross-posted from my journal)

    On donating stuff

    Donating services is nice, but manpower isn’t what is needed now. Sending food and clothing is an issue because there is still a problem with storing and handing things out.

    The people that are envolved with the relief effort are all urging people to send money NOT physical stuff. (That stuff can be donated later, after a stable infrastructure has been set up)

    Be careful who you donate to, there are bound to be some scam artists out there trying to make a buck or two. Here are some good choices:

    The American Red Cross is taking donations at 1-800-HELP-NOW.

    The Salvation Army is accepting donations at 1-800-S-A-L-ARMY.

    For those of you with a religious bent:

    Catholic Charities is taking donations at 703-549-1390.

    Church World Service — which represents 36 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican denominations helping with the disaster can be reached at 1-800-297-1516.

    1. FYI.

      The Salvation Army should be under the “religious bent” category, with a disclaimer that they’re discriminatory against queer people in their hiring practices and religious beliefs.

      1. Re: FYI.

        Not to mention discriminatory towards live local music.

          1. Re: FYI.

            Long story. I used to help run a “coffee house” that was hosted by the SA. They gradually pushed us out, in a very unprofessional, passive-aggressive way. It left my rather unimpressed with the SA.

          2. Re: FYI.

            Yeah, even though they helped my grandfather when he came back from WWII (and my mom’s a bellringer every year), I refuse to give to them anymore at Xmas time.

            However, I try to give to other worthy charities at that time of the year.

        1. Re: FYI.


          Interesting…but I would caution on blaming all of the Salvation Army on a segment.

          I used to dj up in Portland, Maine at a nightclub (not coffeehouse) that was paid for and financed by the regional Salvation Army to offer a alcohol/chem-free environment.

          There was always a bit of a struggle on balancing music. Not so much style but that it being essentially a “church” owned club that was to be focused on all ages they asked bands to keep things reasonably clear. So sure, bands got upset when they weren’t asked back to play when they’d use the f*** word every other sentence.

          On the flip side, many bands respected their wishes and were very thankful to have such a cool venue to play at. And they weren’t just coffee shop bands. They had hardcore acts, dj’s, even a running goth/industrial night.

          Sadly, they closed the venue after about three years. They ran into financial crisis. (This was about 2-3 yrs ago) In fact, much of the northeast wound up in financial crisis. I would not be surprised if that in part had an influence in your case. *shrug*

          But IMHO such a venue was an extremely daring and out of the box endeavor for either a church or urban relief group.

      2. Re: FYI.

        They’re a religious charity….to expect them to go against their beliefs is wrong. No one forces you to donate…

        But I’d rather donate to the Salvation Army than the Red Cross. When it came to aid in 9-11 I think they both showed their true colors. The Salvation Army was there both in helping physically and in stepping up to pay the bills of the victims. The Red Cross….decided they had enough money and that they were going to use the donations to pay off their own debts (until there was such an outcry that they recanted).

        After that I’ve been very leery of donating anything to the Red Cross besides O+ blood.


        If I’m donating for aid relief, i’ll donate for aid relief.

        Mind you, that Salvation Army soup kitchens feed thousands across the country, they help the homeless, the drug addicts, the HIV, the hungry, regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, etc. That $ aid goes to all.

        Now, are they more selective about who they hire….yes. They’re a church. You might not agree with them or their beliefs. People forget they’re a church because they do so much relief work and and give so much aid to the poor.

        Now I’m not saying you have to donate to them….but I do wonder if there is much difference between “hating cause they think differently” and “not hiring because they think differently”.


        1. Re: FYI.

          I’m glad they do so much to help people.

          But I can’t put money in their bucket if I don’t know that my dollar is going to go to actually help people. If it’s used to buy a meal for someone, that’s fine. But I can’t chance my dollar going towards teaching bigoted beliefs (not the idea of Christianity as a whole, but teaching specifically stuff about God hating gays or something like that) or towards being used for administrative purposes that might be used in a discriminatory fashion.

          I’d rather give to a charity that I know is going to use the money in a way I don’t have to worry about.

          And, as you said, they are a church. I don’t support churches that I have a problem with what they teach. I’ll give money to the UUs or to the Quakers. I won’t give money to the Catholics (even though I was raised Roman Catholic, and my spirituality responds strongly to Catholic rituals) and I won’t give money to the Southern Baptists, etc… If a church is a Christian church that isn’t bigoted against queers or transfolk, then I wouldn’t mind giving them money. Christianity itself isn’t inherently evil… Jesus had some really kick ass ideas.

          Anyway, I digress.

  5. About the giving blood thing…

    If you’ve ever had sex with a man or had sex with a woman who’s had sex with a man who’s had sex with a man since 1980-something, you are rendered permanently ineligible to give blood according to the Red Cross.

    If you know you’re clean, you can lie to them and say you haven’t, but it’s up to you if you choose to do such.

    Personally, I choose to follow their law (also because my first giving experience was horrible… I’d rather donate money to them). At some point, there should be a group effort of EVERYONE who’s ineligible under that law to just stop giving blood all at once. Hopefully it’ll hit them hard enough that they’ll change the law quickly (like within days). I’m not for hurting people who need blood to live (my father is a member of the 2 gallon donor club, I always wanted to do the same), but this law is bullshit and needs a quick resolution.

    1. Re: About the giving blood thing…

      After the tainted blood scandals back in the day, and since AIDS is most common by far in the gay male demographic (although it is no longer growing fastest in that demographic), I can understand why they have the rule.

      1. Re: About the giving blood thing…

        Even though they already do AIDS/HIV testing to every bit of blood that goes through there?

        I still find it to be discriminatory and actually dangerous to the people who really need blood.

        1. Re: About the giving blood thing…

          The best solution IMHO is to perfect artificial blood. We’re most of the way there. Eventually it will be the same as the real thing minus the miniscule shelf life and disease-carrying potential.

          1. Re: About the giving blood thing…

            But there’s something just so beautiful and intimate and personal about giving blood. It’s real giving of part of yourself to someone else so that they might live. True communion, if you think about it in the Christian religious/spiritual sense.

            My mother required a blood transfusion when she had me via C-section. Someone else (actually one of Dad’s coworkers) gave their blood so she might live. Because of this, my father saw the importance of giving blood and now gives blood whenever he can. He’s in the 2 gallon club, I believe.

            I totally know what you’re saying, and I agree with you, but there IS something special about using real human blood.

        2. Re: About the giving blood thing…

          I hear where you’r coming from. And then, knowing that the tests for HIV can be a bit iffy, I can see where the Red Cross is coming from too.

          Goodness knows I’d rather have tested, probably-OK blood than no blood at all – but so long as there isn’t a major shortage I can understand their better-safe-than-sorry policy.

          But then, I’m not a medical proffessional, so I can’t say whether that policy is actually a medically sound one, or just fear of teh gayzorz.

          1. Re: About the giving blood thing…

            Seeing as it was written up back when the whole scare was going down, I think it’s just teh f34r of teh g4yx0rz.

            And g4yx0rz is just awesome. I’ve never seen that word before.

            Heh… I want to change my bi pride icon so it says “bix0rz” instead of “bi”

          2. Re: About the giving blood thing…

            I can’t take credit; it was this PA comic which first introduced me to the soaring majesty of the Gayzor mountains, where everyone is… well, you get the idea.

          3. Re: About the giving blood thing…


        3. Re: About the giving blood thing…

          But the testing is very expensive and to do that testing and then have to throw the blood away….

          1. Re: About the giving blood thing…

            They’re already doing the testing even with this rule in place. So it’s not like it’s going to cost them more.

          2. Re: About the giving blood thing…

            Well yeah, it does, if they do the testing and then find the blood unusuablethen the money they used for the test goes to waste. They still have to pay for the tests.

          3. Re: About the giving blood thing…

            Ok, so they’d have more donors and have to test more blood. And they’d have more (whether or not it’s comparative or the % would actually rise, I don’t know) blood that they have to throw out.


            They’d have ALOT more blood. Alot more GOOD blood. And with the perpetual blood shortage, this is a big deal.

            So we/they have to figure out if it’s worth it or not.

            Personally, I don’t like being judged based off of my choice of partners. I get myself tested for STDs every 3 months.

            Also, what about people who only sleep with straight partners, but don’t do it safely? They’re at a higher risk for HIV/AIDS (as well as other STDs that can then be transfered via blood), but they are allowed to give blood. Yes, it would be hard to ask “do you have alot of unprotected sex?” and then define “alot”, but still. If they were THAT concerned, don’t you think they’d also be worried about the straight population too?

            /me shrugs… whatever.

        4. Re: About the giving blood thing…

          It’s less dangerous than tainted blood.

          I have a friend, he’s not gay, he’s a virgin. He can’t donate.

          a) he’s spent too much time in Europe (mad cow disease)
          b) and now been to Africa (way too many diseases to test for)

          They have statistical information to determine risk points. A short trip to Europe doesn’t negate you but enough time does. Hey you could get Mad Cow the first day. But statistically you become a higher risk when you’ve been in Europe longer.

          They are endeavoring to reduce the risk.

          It’s also not all about HIV. Most of the people infected with HIV from from blood transfusions were done before we really were aware of the disease. So it’s also to reduce risk of spreading a new disease that is unknown currently.

          The facts, segments of the male homosexual community have some of the highest infection rates. Furthermore, they not only have some of the highest infection rates but some of the most difficult strains to deal with. And most newer more resistant strains appear in that community first.

          Conversely, the female homosexual community actually has one of the lowest rates of infection. I believe both because they tend to more often be involved in committed relationships and I believe they have a lower intravaneous drug use level.

          So, I guess one can thank all the anti-discrimination laws for this situation. Even though lesbian couples are low risk, homosexual men are high risk. And well,…we can’t discriminate on sex.


      2. Re: About the giving blood thing…

        IIRC, I think that law would render you ineligible to give blood.

    2. Re: About the giving blood thing…

      Also, is it actually a law? Or just Red Cross SOP?

      1. Re: About the giving blood thing…

        It’s not actually a law. I should have worded that different.

        It’s Red Cross SOP and on their website as their official policy.

  6. Giving money seems to be the best thing you can do right now, by all accounts.

    I would also say, keep reading updated news, checking the sites for orgs like Red Cross, and if there is a call put out for any new requests for help, spread the word.

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