The scenes from New Orleans and other Gulf Coast communities have touched St. Louisans. My office has gotten calls from many people asking how they can help.
Here’s what we are saying right now:
Several national agencies, including the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and the United Way are taking the lead in collecting donations for the survivors. They do good work — and they need our help, especially our financial help, right now.
Some cities convenient to the Gulf Coast communities are developing the capacity to accept large numbers of refugees. They will convert their public facilities into shelters and processing facilities.
Residents of cities like St. Louis, which are further away, can best help in two ways: (1) by donating money to the lead charitable agencies, and (2) by opening their private homes to friends, co-workers, and family members displaced from the coastal areas.
In addition, St. Louis County exec Charlie Dooley is planning to offer the use of the vacant jail at Gumbo as a short term housing facility.
Government is organized to be efficient. But families are organized to be generous. I hope that every St. Louisan with a connection to a Gulf coast community reaches out to their own.