If you can, please help those in Louisiana

With all the nonprofits here that do great work and need donations and help, it’s difficult to ask people to give their time and money to help those thousands of miles away, strangers that you’ve never met, people whose lifestyle you know nothing about.

This is one of those times.

The situation in Louisiana is worst than most of us can imagine. The latest figure is 40,000 homes damaged by flooding affecting more than 100,000 people. Reports say the state could be “looking at its biggest housing crunch since the miserable, bumbling aftermath of Hurricane Katrina a decade ago.”

And that was bad.

Many whose homes were ruined by heavy rains were forced to flee – to shelters, to relatives to any place they could find. Some have refused to leave, despite the damage and unlivable conditions. It will likely be months before they can return to their homes. Many had no flood insurance and don’t the money to rebuild. Some, simply lost everything.

“I got nowhere to go,” one man was quoted in an Associated Press story.

So, how can we help?

That’s where the American Red Cross comes in.

It is sending disaster workers to Louisiana who are helping thousands of people there with shelter and food. Two Red Cross volunteers from Oahu are either there or on their way. More may be going soon.

“The current flooding in Louisiana is the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Superstorm Sandy,” said Coralie Chun Matayoshi, CEO of the Hawaii Red Cross. “The Red Cross is mounting a massive relief operation, which we anticipate will cost at least $30 million and that number may grow as we learn more about the scope and magnitude of the devastation.”

Monday night more than 8,400 people sought refuge in 36 Red Cross and community shelters in Louisiana. More than 1,000 Red Cross disaster volunteers have been mobilized from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to help with the Louisiana relief efforts. The Red Cross is also mobilizing over 60 disaster response vehicles, nearly 40,000 ready-to-eat meals, and dozens of trailers filled with shelter and kitchen supplies. See more about the Red Cross response here.

“People in Louisiana urgently need our help now,” Matayoshi said. “Please consider making a financial donation to the Red Cross today.”

People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Most people on Kauai are already beyond generous. This is a giving place. The many nonprofits do a wonderful job of helping those in need. If you already donate, thank you. If you can find it to donate even more, to help people far away that you’re never met, please do.

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