We've heard so much and seen so much about the destruction caused by Katrina these days that I just want to make a comment. I live in a Southwestern state that is taking in many of the refugees from Katrina. The response to the many and ongoing needs by the folks in this area has been amazing.
Let me be the first to say that southern hospitality is alive and well, folks. The many churches and aid organizations have banded together to adopt families living as refugees in local hotels. These folks have stepped forward and said, simply, "We will provide for their needs through God's grace and mercy." No fanfare, no chest-beating. They've turned to their church membership, who have responded in droves. You can't go down the street without seeing donation centers, and firefighters standing on the corner collecting donations in their yellow and black boots. Families are opening their homes to total strangers, offering to host them until they can get back on their feet. Schools are sending home flyers asking that clothing in good condition be donated to the cause, and grocery stores are setting up food donations that can be given directly to the victims in our area.
We've been looking for a new home church, and yesterday we visited one for the first time. While we were there, the pastor introduced at least twenty refugees from Katrina that they had invited to attend the church, then prayed over them and offered them any help they needed. The members of this church, as have many others, reached out, and the gratitude on the faces of the people there was clear evidence of faith in action. These people put their money where there mouth is, and all I want to say to that is "amen."
Many of the refugees have decided to relocate to this city, and no wonder--these folks are some of the most incredible I have ever met in terms of sheer friendliness and willingness to help.
If you haven't had an opportunity to donate yet, think about sending a monetary donation to the Salvation Army, which has very low operating costs--ensuring that most of the money goes directly to those in need.