Local organizations unite to aid victims of Katrina

With the recent devastation of New Orleans, WSU’s Jazz Northwest, in partnership with St. James Episcopal Church, is getting into the swing of helping hurricane victims in the “Jazz City” and outlying areas.

The faculty jazz group will hold a Jazz Benefit for Hurricane Relief at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11 at St. James Episcopal Church in Pullman.

All proceeds will go to victims of Hurricane Katrina via the Red Cross, Episcopal Relief and Development or any agency that attendees designate on their contribution envelopes.

A number of opportunities to contribute time and money to relief efforts are cropping up locally and regionally. The following list details many ways to get involved; however, this list is not exhaustive. There are many efforts under way in the area, and more are getting started all the time.

* Students at the Koinonia House are preparing health kits for hurricane victims Wednesday, Sept. 14, following a candlelight vigil at 7 pm. The kits will be sent to the disaster zone Friday, Sept. 16. Faculty and staff are invited to give cash or item donations on Monday, Sept. 12, and Tuesday, Sept. 13. Items needed include toiletry necessities, bandages and gallon-size ziplock bags. For more information call 332-2611.

* The WSU Community Service Learning Center is seeking to organize departments, halls and students who want to help victims. Call 335-7708 to volunteer or visit the website at http://cslc.wsu.edu.

* The YMCA of WSU is collecting funds to be sent to YMCAs near affected areas. Donations may be brought to the Women’s Resource Center in Wilson Hall, room 8, or can be made via http://www.ymca.org/give. YMCA USA will provide a dollar-to-dollar match for every online gift up to $25,000.

* A group of nine WSU Tri-Cities nursing students and their instructor are in Louisiana dispensing medications, medical care and supplies to victims and working 12-hour shifts to relieve weary medical teams. Faculty and staff may aid in the expenses associated with this effort by contributing cash, checks or credit card funds to the WSU Foundation. Contact the Development Office at WSU Tri-Cities at 372-7252.

* Stephenson South Hall resident adviser Skyler York is coordinating relief efforts in the Stephenson Towers. Efforts include a penny drive and hall government donations toward a goal of raising $1,500 for hurricane victims. To donate contact Skyler York at skyleryork@wsu.edu.

* Katrina Housing Northwest is looking for people in Washington and Oregon to provide housing for displaced families for approximately four to six months. For more information visit http://www.fema.gov.

* Toni Russell, fiscal specialist in the Small Business Development Center statewide office, is organizing a drive to obtain new or used stuffed animals for the children affected by this disaster. Through the business she owns with her son in Coeur d’Alene, “S.A.F.E. (Stuffed Animals for Every) Child” will make arrangements to pick up and ship the donated animals. They accept donations of children’s books as well. To make a donation, contact Russell at 358-7768, truss@wsu.edu.

*WSU is joining with other institutions in offering distance education courses to displaced students.  WSU flexible-enrollment courses have been included are available at no cost.  For more information visit the website at http://www.sloansemester.org/student/index.asp.

* A website with more information about WSU’s response to Hurricane Katrina can be found at http://www.wsu.edu/katrina/index.html.