Thursday, September 08, 2005

A few thoughts on Katrina. (Click PODCAST)

I'm sure that many of you like me have spent most of the last week surfing through the cable news channels. It's still very difficult writing my opinions of everything that is happening in the Gulf Coast from the comfort of my Hollywood apartment. Every thought I have eventually turns into a rant and besides I myself would rather hear from the people who are actually there than hear from another observer.

During hurricane season I’m always very nervous. Most of my family lives in Orlando, Florida and Puerto Rico. When the storms start forming, I start my day watching the Weather Channel (, end my day watching the Weather Channel and wake up in the middle of the night and turning on the Weather Channel. In fact my brother has become an amateur storm tracker whose prediction are more accurate than the Weather Channel’s. The hard part is coming home and getting a morbid E-mail or just missing that phone call and hearing a morbid message on the machine telling me that everything is secured and now they have to ride out the storm. The Florida relatives can at least escape, but the Puerto Rican relatives are stuck. A few days later I would get a call or an E-mail telling me all is well but, they had a lot of cleaning up to do and I would breathe a sigh of relief.

Katrina got me thinking about my uncle Pelli. He was a big man with a big heart. During times like these while people are watching the devastation on TV and saying, "That’s a shame, someone should do something". Uncle Pelli did something. When Hurricane Andrew hit south Florida on August 24, 1992, he filled his van with clothes and food that he collected from relatives and the church, and drove the supplies from Orlando to Homestead. He did things like that all the time. Uncle Pelli died a couple years ago because like I said, "He was a big man with a big heart". At the funeral people asked, "Why did God take him so soon? He was a good guy". I’m not one who questions God on these matters, but I do have a theory. Uncle Pelli did his duty for King and country and then God called him home. Now while people are watching the devastation on television and saying, "That’s a shame, someone should do something". Well Uncle Pelli is not here to do something, it's your turn. It's my turn.

Right now we can't load up a van and head over there. In fact Good Samaritans are being told not to travel to affected areas, but instead to send money.

Organizations Requesting Cash Donations:

American Red Cross
English: 800-HELP-NOW (435-7669)
Spanish: 800-257-7575

The Salvation Army

America's Second Harvest

United Way


Oprah's Angel Network

Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund

Habitat for Humanity

Government Organizations:

FEMA: for official news, evacuation reports, and status updates

NOAA's Hurricane Center - Be Ready For the Next One:

Homeland Security Dept.:

Other Ways to Help:

Do you have a spare room, bed or couch to offer a family fleeing hurricane Katrina?

I want to issue this challenge. If you have been to New Orleans in the past, I am sure you had a good time. I say this because I have never heard anyone say, "I'd just come back from New Orleans and I was never so bored". I will even go as far as saying that you got more than your money's worth of fun (The DVDs of that fun are being sold on infomercials late at night). Now is the to pay back the difference. If you have never been to New Orleans, consider this donation a down payment on the fun you will have when you do eventually visit.

I still can't help but think that this storm could have hit Orlando, or Puerto Rico. Still my family will say, "I don’t know how you can live in California with all those earthquakes".

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

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