Thursday, September 08, 2005

Detroiters lend a hand to hurricane victims

From the local Big Boy restaurants that collected canned goods last weekend, to WDIV's college football ticket auction, Detroit residents and local businesses continue coming up with new and unique ways to help lessen the devastation caused by hurricane Katrina.

Watching the local nightly news and reading Detroit-area publications each day, I am awe-struck at the number of initiatives that Detroiters have come up with to help their fellow Americans deal with the havoc caused by Katrina.

Since there are so many initiatives going on right now in Detroit, it would be nearly impossible to mention them all in this post. However, here are a few:

WDIV's Rescue 4 Hurricaid campaign: Together with the American Red Cross, WDIV's campaign aims to provide a central location for Detroiters to make monetary contributions to aid the victims. Local 4 anchor Lila Lazarus has also been canvassing businesses and collecting monetary donations for the victims, as well. The campaign has brought in more than $800,000 so far.

- Operation Love is a benefit put on by the Detroit branch of the NAACP. Set for September 18, the fundraiser will feature local acts like Black Bottom Collective and The Contours. Tickets are $25 a piece and 100% of the proceeds will go to hurricane victims in the metro Detroit area.

- Last weekend's Summer Street Fest was turned into a volunteer sign-up event for Detroiters willing to open their homes to displaced Gulf Coast residents. The effort was coordinated by Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and the
United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

- The Detroit Public Schools have offered to re-open up to 20 closed buildings to offer housing and education to those affected by the hurricane.

Over 350 Detroit Edison workers have traveled to regions of the Gulf Coast to help restore power to the affected areas.

Wayne State University has offered free tuition and room and board for displaced college students.

- The Detroit Lions raised more than $50,000 and purchased a number of goods with the money, which will be sent to the victims.

- Agave Restaurant on Woodward in Detroit will host a fundraiser on Tuesday, September 13, with free food and local entertainment. The event's cover charge is a donation, with 100% of the proceeds going to relief efforts of the American Red Cross.

- UniverSoul Circus, set to begin performing a two-week run at Detroit's Chene Park this weekend, began collecting non-perishable goods for hurricane victims today. All donees will receive $15 center and side tickets to the shows on September 17.

- Detroit's City Airport is being used as a processing center for donated goods, where hundreds of people have volunteered their time to help sort out the goods, which will then be distributed to victims in the Detroit area.

- Greater Grace Temple in Detroit spent the Labor Day weekend collecting non-perishable goods, which it then transported - in trucks rented by the church - to sister parishes in Alabama.

Bill Ford, Chairman and CEO of Ford Motor Company, offered 165 vehicles to help the efforts in the South, which can be used "as long as they are needed," according to Ford.

- Five Detroit radio stations and three Detroit television stations have signed on to use broadcast time between 6 am and 9 am on September 9 as a means of raising money for the Red Cross Katrina relief efforts. The project,
Michigan Gives/Michigan Cares was put together by Governor Granholm, the Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters, and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. In total, 215 stations across the state will participate in Friday's effort.

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