Efforts to help the survivors of Hurricane Katrina have mobilized quickly across Montgomery County. As Labor Day weekend drew to a close and the second week of recovey operations across the devastated Gulf Coast began, several dozen groups already had developed aid plans.
Offers of help came from churches, community groups and the halls of the County Council building. People got on the telephone and brainstormed. They offered their help to local civic groups, cultural organizations, colleges and dozens of public and private schools.
Montgomery County established a telephone hotline -- 240-777-2600 -- for residents who want information on where help is needed.
A hurricane relief drive will be held during the second annual Silver Spring Jazz Festival on Saturday at the corner of Fenton Street and Ellsworth Drive in downtown Silver Spring, County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) announced. County firefighters and representatives from the American Red Cross will collect donations. The free festival begins at 4 p.m. and will feature a performance by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, a New Orleans native, at 10:15 p.m. (For further information, visit www.silversprung.com.)
Montgomery schools threw open their doors to children and young adults who had to flee their homes. Montgomery County public schools announced that displaced children are welcome in county classrooms. Montgomery College and Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington offered to enroll students.
Montgomery County Fire Chief Thomas W. Carr Jr. sent an e-mail to firefighters over the Labor Day weekend seeking volunteers for Gulf Coast duty. Carr was responding to a request for help from the New Orleans fire chief.
More than 400 career and volunteer firefighters volunteered for duty, County Council spokesman Patrick Lacefield said. A convoy of 20 vehicles carrying 75 firefighters and a few sheriff's deputies departed for New Orleans on Sunday and arrived Tuesday. They planned to stay at least a week. The county's urban search and rescue units were heading back to Montgomery this week. They spent a week in Hancock County, Miss., providing assistance wherever it was needed in Gulfport and nearby communities.
The County Council agreed Tuesday to offer to become a partner to a Gulf Coast community that has yet to be selected. The county will offer technical assistance, manpower and materials to help with rebuilding, and advice on public schools and public safety issues.
"I have never been more embarrassed by the actions -- or lack of same -- of my federal government over the past week, and never been more proud of local governments' efforts, including our own," County Council President Tom Perez (D-Silver Spring) said in a statement. "We will continue to reach out this week to local officials in the Gulf to partner Montgomery County with a local jurisdiction there."
Following are some local relief efforts.
* The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington has established a monetary relief fund online at www.shalomdc.org. Checks, payable to the Jewish Federation, may be mailed to 6101 Montrose Rd., Rockville, Md. 20852. Write the code "SKG06HK" on the check.
* Olney Theatre Center will donate the proceeds from its National Players' preview performances of "Dracula" on Wednesday and next Thursday and "The Taming of the Shrew" on Sept. 21 and 22 to the American Red Cross. Admission to the performances is on a pay-what-you-can basis. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be held at the Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney. 301-924-3400.
* State Del. Herman L. Taylor II (D-Montgomery), in partnership with Olney Theatre Center, Allstate Professional Movers and Secure Care Services, is asking the public to drop off donations of water, nonperishable food, toiletries, blankets, sheets, pillows and diapers at Olney Theatre Center between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily. Taylor, who has relatives in New Orleans, said the donations will be sent to St. James Baptist Church, an American Red Cross shelter in Brookhaven, Miss., and to the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund in Baton Rouge, La. 410-841-3380.
* Students and staff at Thomas W. Pyle Middle School in Bethesda will host a dance tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina. 301-320-6540.
* Students at Mary of Nazareth School in Darnestown will hold a car wash and a bake sale with a lemonade stand tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to raise money for hurricane relief. 301-869-0940. Other Catholic schools in the county are praying for victims during Mass and collecting money.
* James Hubert Blake High School in Silver Spring will hold an outdoor jazz concert Sunday at 5 p.m. on the school's athletic field, with donations going to the Red Cross. The school's Eubie Blake Jazz Ensemble and Roaring Bengals marching band played in New Orleans last January as part of the Sugar Bowl festivities.
* Families of students at Whitman High School and other area schools, including Bradley Hills and Wood Acres elementary schools, are collecting backpacks filled with supplies that will be trucked to the Astrodome in Houston. More than 2,000 backpacks have been collected so far. Go to www.projectbackpack.org for more information.
* Columbia Union College is accepting donations of money and personal comfort items at Wilkinson Hall, 7600 Flower Ave., Takoma Park, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Cash donations also can be made at the campus radio station, WGTS-FM 91.9, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. 301-891-4082.
* Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda has offered 20 tuition-free spots to high school students from Jesuit High School in New Orleans, which was destroyed, and to those whose families were displaced in the hurricane. 301-214-1205.
* The Joshua Group Ministries, an interdenominational church in Silver Spring, is having a bake sale on Sunday. It is asking church members and others to bring packed boxes of nonperishable items (cereal, crackers, water, juice, paper towels, toiletries, diapers, batteries, flashlights, books, pens, paper) to the church, 111 Geneva Ave., Silver Spring, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The donations will be shipped to churches and families in the areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina. 301-587-1621.
Aruna Jain and Tina Toll helped to compile information for this report.