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September 07, 2005

Still a Time to Give

Sometimes bureaucracy hinders even the best of intentions.

ATLANTA - Several local ministers and activists on Monday criticized a Red Cross they say has been unresponsive, unconnected and unhelpful to the hundreds of Hurricane Katrina evacuees adrift in the city more than a week after the disaster.

Even as they begged the agency to ease the bureaucracy and stress for the weary transplants, some seemed resolved to rely on the efforts of their churches and individuals in the community to offer immediate assistance to desperate victims.

"Churches have resources, but they're not getting millions," said the Rev. Darryl Winston, president of the Greater America Ministerial Association and pastor of The Church of Greater Works in southwest Atlanta.

"With the Red Cross, the money is coming in, but nothing is coming out," he said.

For more than an hour on Labor Day, metro Atlanta Red Cross representative Stephanie Wright defended her team's efforts, but admitted the agency simply did not have the grassroots contacts established with many faith-based organizations.

"We've never come together, for whatever reason," Wright said. "We're not perfect, but we're doing the best we can with what we have."

I'm not trying to disparage the Red Cross--they do good work, no doubt about it--but one of the reason we at Stones Cry Out chose The Salvation Army as our storm charity was because they do have the grassroots contacts. Even in some towns where there is no Salvation Army building, Service Units have been established to make and keep those contacts so that the Army can serve beyond its reach.

It ain't over. If you haven't had a chance to give, there's still time. And need.

Posted by Doug at September 7, 2005 02:29 PM

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