Giving in Time of Crisis
Pamela Accetta Smith
Sitting comfortably in my desk chair, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina is still unimaginable — unimaginable how overwhelming the future must seem to those affected, how bleak the economy appears, how we could see $4-a-gallon gasoline and fewer jobs in the coming months, how many farmers in Louisiana had to dump their milk because they ran out of room to store it when plant deliveries stopped, even as thousands of people went hungry and thirsty in and around New Orleans — how the loss of income combined with the huge expense of repairing damaged barns and using generators to run dairy equipment could be disastrous for the heart of the state’s dairy industry.
Yet, I still have hope — hope that the surviving victims will survive, hope that the land will heal, and hope that we persist as a country to band together and continue giving to those in need. That said, I am very proud of our dairy industry. Proud at how many press releases came my way just days after the hurricane hit, outlining what this company or that company is contributing to the relief effort.
For example, Kraft provided an initial $1 million in food and cash grants to assist with the relief efforts (read more about Kraft’s contributions in this month’s NewsWire). Brookshire Grocery Co. is matching up to a quarter of a million dollars in cash and food donations to help, and IDFA continues to encourage all member companies to donate supplies to help with U.S. recovery efforts in the wake of this devastating storm.
Other industry organizations are also generously pitching in to help. Dairy Relief Inc., in conjunction with the National Milk Producers Federation, has set up a special fund for dairy farmers and other interested parties to donate money to the victims of this natural disaster. “Dairy Relief has discovered that people in the dairy community always step up to contribute when others are in need,” says Carl Baumann, executive director of the organization. “That is why we have set up this fund to assist the millions of people affected by this disaster.”
The money collected through Dairy Relief will be sent to the American Red Cross, with all contributions made to the Dairy Relief Hurricane Fund ultimately donated to the victims and their families. For more information about Dairy Relief Inc., contact Carl Baumann at (618) 654-3676.
Early estimates indicate the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina could cost anywhere from $10 billion to $25 billion, which would be the largest loss from a single even since the terrorist attacks of September 11.
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