What can I even say about Hurricane Harvey? How can you sum up so much devastation and heartbreak with mere words? It's impossible.
Too many of us know exactly what they're going through. Too many of us have been there ourselves. So please be safe as Harvey meanders our way. Please keep your families and friends safe. And please consider helping our neighbors in Texas when and how you can. The only way we get through this is together.
Even if you aren't part of the Cajun Navy, there are still several concrete things you can do to help:
- The NOLA Help For Harvey Facebook page is a platform for NOLA.com readers to connect with people who need help and to post about their own available resources or aid. Posters are already helping to supply the Cajun Navy, collect gift cards for families, and organize rescues for friends and families stuck on rooftops.
- Texas Monthly and NOLA.com have both organized lists of charities that need your donations, such as the Texas Diaper Bank and the Houston Food Bank. Please consider donating money, not items; as cash is easier to mobilize into exactly the supplies that these charities need at exactly the time they need it.
- Trach Mommas of LA and Little Lobbyists are organizing help for children and families of children with severe medical conditions impacted by the hurricane. Cash is always welcome, but they are also taking surplus medical supplies, such as feeding tubes, nebulizers, and tracheostomy and ventilator supplies.
And yes, there is a Call of the Day you can make too.
In Trump's 2018 budget, he not only demanded $1.6 billion in funds to build a wall along the Mexican border, but also slashed FEMA state and local grants by $600 million.
As if that weren't bad enough, the budget also eliminates funding to improve/redraw the nation's flood maps, and cuts $90 million for pre-disaster mitigation programs, the kind that helped us raise our houses after Katrina and rebuilt our schools, hospitals and police stations to withstand strong storms.
Oh, and of course Trump also wants to slash funding to hurricane forecasting, hurricane/tornado research, and NOAA.
So call your members of Congress today and demand that a) FEMA be fully funded; b) that hurricane research and pre-disaster mitigation programs be fully funded; and c) the $1.6 billion allocated for a stupid border wall be instead used for Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery.
WHO TO CALL:
Senators Cassidy & Kennedy, Representative Scalise OR Representative Richmond
Senator Bill Cassidy - DC OFFICE: (202) 224-5824 and METAIRIE OFFICE: (504) 838-0130 (NOTE: If you can't get through to Metairie, try one of the other offices, such as Monroe: (318) 324-2111, Lake Charles: (337) 493-5398, or Alexandria: Phone: (318) 448-7176)
Senator John Kennedy - DC OFFICE: (202) 224-4623 and NEW ORLEANS OFFICE (504) 581-6190 <-- NOTE THERE'S NOW A NOLA OFFICE!
Representative Steve Scalise: DC OFFICE: 202-225-3015 OR Representative Cedric Richmond: DC OFFICE: 202-225-6636
Because of how Congressional districts are drawn, New Orleans residents have either Richmond or Scalise as their representative. If you don't know who your representative is, you can look it up by entering your home address on the U.S. House of Representatives website.
Reminders: Identify where you're calling from (town and zip code is fine) so they know you're an actual constituent. Be concise - the office will get through more calls that way. Be polite and don't argue with the staffer - they don't set policy. If you get a voicemail, then leave a message. And if you get a busy signal -- call back later!
Hi, my name is [Your Name] from New Orleans, zip code 70118 [or wherever you're from].
I'm calling to demand the Senator/Representative ensure that the $1.6 billion allocated for a border wall will instead be used for Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery. I also want him to demand that FEMA be fully funded in the 2018 budget, as well as pre-disaster mitigation programs, hurricane forecasting and research, and flood map research. Louisiana, Texas, and all Gulf states depend on these programs when hurricanes hit our area.
Thank you for your time, and for your hard work answering the phones. Stay safe out there.
This call is courtesy of Metairie Indivisible.