More than 70 families driven from the Gulf Coast region by Hurricane Katrina are living at least temporarily in Southern Maryland, the director of the local Red Cross chapter said this week.
The Southern Maryland Red Cross is providing emergency assistance to 50 families in Charles County, 12 in St. Mary's County and 10 in Calvert County. Services include food, clothing and shelter, with more than $43,000 having been used for food and clothing alone, according to a statement released by the organization.
More than $75,000 in donations had been received as of Tuesday, said Mike Zabko, director of the Red Cross in Charles County. He said that figure does not include online contributions. In addition, he said, more than 70 people from the area have volunteered to travel to the hurricane zone.
During Air Expo '05 at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, more than $20,000 was collected. Donations may be sent directly to the American Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund, PO Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.
Zabko said contributions are coming from a variety of local donors. One anonymous donor sent in a check for $25,000; and in a local neighborhood, children walked door to door with red cans to collect money for the hurricane's victims. Many Southern Maryland corporations and businesses have also pledged financial support to the disaster relief efforts.
Although monetary donations are needed for relief efforts, so are trained volunteers. Four Red Cross-trained volunteers from Southern Maryland have been deployed to the affected areas, and eight more are awaiting deployment. About 60 people are scheduled for training.
To volunteer, people must be willing to be gone for three weeks and work and live in conditions that include no air conditioning and congregate shelters. Work days may approach 18 hours with no days off. State of Maryland employees deploying under provisions of the state Disaster Leave Law will serve two-week assignments. There is no monetary cost to the volunteers.
In addition to the Red Cross, several other organizations are helping with particular needs in the hurricane zone, and Southern Marylanders may contact them to find out how to help.
To assist with animal rescue, contact the Humane Society of the United States at www.hsus.org or the American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org for more information.
To assist with food efforts, contact Second Harvest. Companies that want to donate a full truckload of dry storage products, can call 800-771-2303 and ask for Second Harvest's Food Sourcing Department. Corporations may sponsor a load of goods and the shipping costs through Convoy of Hope.
The Newtowne Players are sponsoring a disaster relief benefit concert Saturday at Three Notch Theatre in Lexington Park. Tickets cost $25, and all proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund.
The concert is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. Local performers include Pond Scum, the Bushwood Mill Band, Blonde Ambition, the Southern Maryland Traditional Music Group and Joe Norris.
Three Notch Theatre is at 21744 S. Coral Dr. in the former Lexington Park library. Seating is limited. Tickets may be reserved by calling call the theater at 301-737-5447 or by visiting www.newtowneplayers.com.
Lexington Park Elementary
Lexington Park Elementary School students and staff members have been collecting school supplies to be donated to children. Their collections will conclude this weekend. Donations may be brought to the school, at 46763 S. Shangri La Dr., from 9 a.m. to noonSaturday and Sunday. Notebook paper, pencils, notebooks, folders, backpacks, crayons and markers are acceptable. Call Luchrisha Flowers at 301-863-4085.
St. Mary's Schools
Employees and students of St. Mary's County public schools have launched several activities to assist families along the Gulf Coast and those relocated to Southern Maryland after the hurricane.
Victims who are staying with relatives or friends in St. Mary's County may immediately enroll their children in the school system even if the usual documents required for enrollment are not available. For more information, call Kathleen Lyon, director of pupil services, at 301-475-5511 Ext. 198.
The schools are also involved in the following relief efforts:
* Benjamin Banneker Elementary -- Accepting cash donations.
* Chopticon High -- Student government is raising funds for the American Red Cross.
* Dynard Elementary -- "Lend a Hand" campaign. Students are encouraged to donate a dollar, and their names will be put on paper hand cutouts that will be placed on the school's walls. The goal is to have enough hands to go completely around the building. All donations will go to America's Second Harvest fund.
* Esperanza Middle -- "The Change to Bring About Change" drive. Money will be collected during lunch periods and then donated to the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
* Green Holly Elementary -- Penny drive to raise money for the American Red Cross.
* Greenview Knolls Elementary -- "Cash for Katrina" cash donation drive sponsored by the Student Council and PTA. Proceeds raised will go to the American Red Cross.
* Hollywood Elementary -- "Step to Aid Katrina Victims" last Friday. Students, teachers and community members participated in the school-wide walk around the campus. The school will be accepting donations for the American Red Cross.
* Leonardtown Elementary -- Hosting a dime drive, with all proceeds donated to the American Red Cross and the hurricane.
* Lettie Marshall Dent Elementary -- Accepting cash donations for the American Red Cross.
* Lexington Park Elementary -- School supply drive Saturday and Sunday.
* Margaret Brent Middle -- Student government raising funds for the American Red Cross.
* Mechanicsville Elementary -- New Teddy bear and stuffed animal collection. Items to be delivered to children displaced by hurricane.
* Piney Point Elementary -- Hosting a penny drive. All proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross.
* Ridge Elementary -- Hosting a loose change drive. All proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross.
* Town Creek Elementary -- Student coin drive, with proceeds donated to the Salvation Army. Staff members donating care packages to victims in Gulfport, Miss.
* Two members of the Huntingtown Volunteer Fire Department deployed Sept. 4 for a 30-day stint assisting hurricane victims. In addition, three other members of the department volunteered for week-long assignments in Louisiana and Mississippi. Four other Calvert County volunteers were sent to a hospital in Gretna, La.
* SMARTCO Inc. (Southern Maryland Applied Research and Technology Consortium) of Great Mills has donated 10 fully equipped personal computer systems to assist a Camp Springs church's Hurricane Katrina relief efforts to support displaced families that have been relocated to Maryland.
Chaney Enterprises employees will roll up their sleeves to provide support to hurricane victims by sponsoring an American Red Cross blood drive from noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Eugene Chaney Training Center, 12200 Acton Lane in Waldorf.
The public, in addition to Chaney employees and family members, may schedule a time to donate blood by calling 301-632-3001.
The event will include a baked goods sale, and items for the sale will may be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. next Thursday.
Monetary donations are being accepted for hurricane victims by Chaney Enterprises. Money raised from the baked goods sale and cash donations will be matched by the Eugene Chaney Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Chaney Enterprises.
For more information, call Marcia T. Hart-Wise at 301-932-5665 or Doreen Bickel at 301-632-3001.