As a resident of Takoma Park, I applaud the Takoma Park Folk Festival. I have attended the festival with my children and their friends over the past several years. This year I was unable to attend because of efforts at the Silver Spring Moose Lodge to collect and transport relief supplies to the areas afflicted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
In his Sept. 25 Close to Home piece, "Fair-Weather Samaritans," the Folk Festival's chairman, Kevin Adler, asked: "Who would do the hard, long-term work of helping Katrina victims restart their lives?" Well, although our effort represents a drop in the bucket, we started our initiative on Sept. 1 and our first tractor-trailer pulled out on Sept. 7. We have sent over 75,000 pounds of relief and recovery supplies and sacrificed countless hours. I missed close to three weeks of work and my 9-year-old daughter missed the folk festival, among other events, to help us sort and pack items donated by the community. I sent fliers over to the Takoma Park Folk Festival office but didn't get much response. The Red Cross itself was directing those who wanted to make "in-kind" donations to us. It never occurred to me to have a booth at the festival, because we were far too busy with relief efforts to "spend the day at the festival, sitting at a table under a canopy, enjoying great music and selling brownies to raise money for Katrina victims."
For Adler to tar the majority of organizations trying to make a difference with the insinuation that they are not willing to lift a finger, without mentioning the groups that were too occupied to even ask for the support of the festival, is insulting and diminishes the hard work of those who are toiling at a grass-roots level to alleviate the suffering of our fellow citizens.
-- Thomas Kenny
The writer is governor of the Silver Spring Moose Lodge.