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Saturday, Sep. 17, 2005 at 8:48 AM
Why is KPFK saying, "Don't donate to the Red Cross"?
There seems to be a strong impression among the Left that the Red Cross is not worthy of our support, or that it is doing nothing, or that it is just as
clueless as FEMA. I don't know exactly why people think this, but perhaps some of it springs from the fact that the Red Cross has been turned away
from the disaster zone by FEMA and the National Guard. Or perhaps because local people have been quoted saying that FEMA and the Red Cross were
If you know of any other reasons for bad-mouthing the Red Cross and withdrawing our support, please enlighten everybody. I hope they are specific,
knowledgeable reasons and not just anti-establishment feeling. However, the above reasons are not enough. The problem of being turned away by FEMA
is the same problem of everybody who is trying to help, and neither the Red Cross nor any progressive community-based organization can be everywhere
And just this morning, I heard somebody on KPFK actually saying, "Please don't donate to the Red Cross." What the f???! In times like this, when
everybody needs to help, it is just callous and cynical to tell people NOT to help the people who are helping. I have not even heard a whisper of a rumor
about any scandal or incompetence with the Red Cross' Katrina relief effort. If what I have read is correct, just yesterday (Sept. 15) the Red Cross
sheltered 50, 000 people and served 300,000 meals. That is NOT "doing nothing." To tell people NOT to support that effort, is the ultimate in political
hair-splitting, or perhaps it's just jealousy. I'm sure the people sleeping in those shelters and eating those meals don't give a fig about how progressive the
Red Cross is.
Last pay cycle, I donated to both the Red Cross and Operation USA (favored by KPFK). This pay cycle, I'm dispersing my contributions among smaller
in-kind direct-aid groups, like Pastors For Peace, Food Not Bombs and the Dream Center, which is housing 300 people in the heart of Silver Lake. Next
pay cycle, I may go back to the Red Cross and Op USA again. My point is that both large and small relief groups need our help, whether they're
progressive or not.
No one can ever be 100% sure that their aid dollars won't be ripped off. If the Red Cross can waste or steal your donations, then so could the local
anarchist foodbank. It's always a crapshoot, and the only way to be sure SOMETHING gets through, is to donate to a wide variety of groups. Since I
have not heard recently about any Red Cross officials resigning in disgrace or going to jail or enacting any discriminatory or homophobic policies, I guess
I might as well include the Red Cross in my generosity. So, unless you have a reason, please lay off the Red Cross for now.
For some statistics on the relief effort:
Pastors For Peace:
Lucia Bruno at 347-423-4330
2301Bellevue Ave. LA 90026
Volunteer hours 9-7 daily (except Sunday)
Volunteer check-in at 9, 11, 1, and 3
Food Not Bombs
The Houston Kitchen can be called at 713-802-9642
The Moutre Family (seen on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, providing shelter to over 50 people)
The Bearrington's School
1250 Texas Parkway
Stafford, TX 77477
Veterans For Peace Chapter 116
28500 Sherwood Rd
Willits CA 95490
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