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Katrina Relief

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Mid Hudson Valley URI Katrina Relief

Dear Friends,

This past week we have all witnessed the profound and heartbreaking human tragedy unfolding in New Orleans, Mississippi and Alabama in the wake of hurricane Katrina. It is certainly a wake-up call to us about both the precariousness and the interrelatedness of all life.  We share aching sadness, disbelief and outrage which call us to action. As members of religious communitas we understand the power of prayer which is imperative and unconditional.  We also have been seeking some concrete actions that we can take too to support the thousands of victims who have lost everything.

It appears that a pathway has opened up.  As members of The Mid-Hudson Valley Chapter of United Religions Initiative, we are reaching to the churches, synagogues, Buddhist centers and mosques in our region to join together to gather clothing and specific supplies which will be taken to Houston, Texas ASAP to help victims arriving by the thousands daily with nothing.  We are linked with a network of churches and other faith-based communities in Houston who will receive with open arms whatever we can get to them -- and place them into the hands of those in need.  This is a precious opportunity to align together as people of faith to create healing and hope.  Extending our hearts and hands across this distance is itself an answer to our prayers to be of service. 

These human connections, expressions of love, the outreach of the heart without a pause hopefully will source healing for people devastated by this disaster.  It is a gift to us too -- an invitation to open conversations with each other here in the Mid-Hudson Valley.  Hopefully we can explore other ways to share prayer and action in the future in support of healing the Earth and all living beings.

We are asking your help in the Mid Hudson Valley URI Katerina Relief Effort. Because of your resourcefulness and connections with the Interfaith communities in this region we ask for your help at this desperate time of need .
Where we are:We have faith based groups on the ground in Houston coordinating relief efforts for 100,000 refugees. They are ready to distribute food, clothing, toys, blankets, school supplies, etc., by the planeload as fast as we can get it there.
The local contact is a dear friend on the URI Council PK McCarthy working with  Local grass roots churches/ points of distribution/people of color/ Houston TX working other churches and organizations as a way station for food, clothes and money to get to others:

Lamb of God Lutheran Church
7800 W. Bellfort, Houston, Texas 77071
(713) 771-8176
Rev. James Berggren
contact: PK Mc Cary
and numerous other churches, synagogues and mosques. They are up and running and registered with FEMA.

Items Needed:

Food and drinks
Disposable diapers
Games and toys
Sheets and blankets
Monetary donations

Other Community Churches in Houston include in consortium:
Spring Tabernacle Church, 3031 F.M. 2920, Spring;
(281) 353-1851
Memorial Baptist Church, 600 W. Sterling, Baytown
St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, 6005 N, Wayside
Drive, Houston
Baytown Community Center, 2407 Market Street, Baytown
Mont Belvieu Senior Center, 11607 Eagle Drive, Mont
Moody Methodist Church, 2803 53rd Street, Galveston

The need: 1) Mobilize faith based communities to organize supply drives, get those packed and delivered in an appropriate way.
2) Get companies to donate goods and services including packing supplies and storage space.
3) Transportation. We will need pick up trucks for local transport.  We are hoping to get on approved list with Stewart Air Force Base so that the Air National Guard can transport the donations to Houston. We may need other transport from Hudson Valley to Houston.
The Challenge: Lots of folks will be ready to give. How do we coordinate it, promote it, store the supplies and get them transported?
Updates: We are pleased to have Family of Woodstock ( A United Way Agency) on board as a co sponsor. They have been getting lots of calls from those who wish to give donations.
The Wiitenberg Center for Alternative Resources can process financial donations earmarked MHVURI Katrina.
Communications. please send your email marked info MHV URI forward.We will set up a list serve soon. Also please send me your phone numbers and best time to communicate by phone.
All efforts are needed now. You have wonderful, creative minds. We literally need to move mountains. We need your help now. Please respond and let us know if you will participate in this effort
Thank you,
With deep appreciation,
Betsy Stang
Ilfra Halley
James Davis
Mid Hudson Valley URI
We, people of diverse religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions throughout the world, hereby establish the United Religions Initiative to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings. URI Charter