People are transported down a road flooded by Hurricane Maria in Juana Matos, Catano, Puerto Rico, on September 21, 2017. (Atlantic Magazine)
We are all shocked at the number of natural disasters that have so suddenly rocked our country and the countries of the Caribbean. Hurricanes Harvey in Texas; Irma, Jose, and Maria in the Caribbean Islands, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Florida and our own state of Georgia. We all want to do something to help and we want to do it now – if not yesterday. We tend to forget that these are only a portion of the world’s disasters with flooding in India, earthquakes in Mexico, and many other natural phenomena causing death, destruction, and suffering on a daily basis.
Many of you in the Rotary Clubs of District 6900 are asking – “How can we help?” and “We want to help right now.” I have discussed this at length with District Governor Alec and our Disaster Relief team. Here is what we see as our immediate response to what will be a long, very long, relief effort:
- Make contributions for Disaster Relief to the District 6900 Charitable Fund – this is a 501c3 and contributions are tax deductible. Checks should be made out to “Rotary District 6900 Charitable Fund” mark the “For” line in your check where you want it to go or simply Hurricane Relief 2017. Mail checks to our District Treasurer, James Marosek, at 2810 Premiere Parkway Ste. 200, Duluth, GA 30097. You may also contribute by credit card.
- Undesignated donations will go toward District directed contributions to help in the Rotary Districts of our Rotary Zones – 33/34. This includes the Caribbean Rotary Districts, Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia, and the other coastal states of the Eastern US from Delaware south to Florida.
We know that this is not all inclusive of the projects that Rotarians and Clubs will want to donate to as we go about the work of helping. Please keep us informed or your individual efforts and donations, and those of your clubs. Do so by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget about our Rotary International Disaster Relief Partners – such as Shelter Box and others.
Our leadership team will be at our Zone 33/34 Institute in the next few weeks in Orlando, Florida, where our Rotary Director Ron Ferrill will preside. We are sure that direction and unified relief efforts will be forthcoming from this meeting. This will be a long and trying period of relief and rebuilding in those area devastated by these storms. We will be there to help through the entire process.
Although we cannot specifically use Global Grants for disaster relief, we all feel sure that with the long and extensive recovery necessary in many of these area there will be Global Grant opportunities. We will advise more on that as the situation continues to develop. Please run your Global Grant ideas through District Global Grants Chair Anne Glenn for guidance.
I plan to solicit help from corporations and individuals in our Rotary District who have the ability to make significant contributions toward recovery in the areas affected. If you have contacts or resource available to you to help with this initiative please contact me at the email address above.