The Green Ribbon Project Opens Their Doors, the Doors of Family, Friends, Neighbors, Local Businesses and Community Groups to People Displaced by Hurricane Katrina

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The Green Ribbon Project [GRP] is dedicated to building durable and long term support networks for those taking into their homes individuals and families affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The newly created Green Ribbon Project [GRP] is dedicated to building durable and long term support networks for those taking into their homes individuals and families affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The Green Ribbon Project sees the problem as one that is "long term". By this The Green Ribbon Project sees no quick fixes and so the effort will take a minimum commitment of three to six months by those willing to help.

The Green Ribbon Project's plan of attack is a simple one. The Green Ribbon Project intends to bring the needed resources together from trustworthy sources --family, friends, neighbors or local groups, business entities and charity organizations so the host providers can be sure that the commitment given will be fulfilled.

The families and individuals displaced by Hurricane Katrina will need long-term housing, food, clothing [appropriate for every day wear, employment interviews, for children to play and attend school], tools to build resumes and find employment, transportation, and also school supplies for the children. Other things these individuals might need would be counseling, medical care and day care.

One family cannot provide all these items for an extended period of time without a support network. The Green Ribbon Project is offering our help to put together a support network like this, whether individuals or families are intending to host a family or would like to help support those that can host a family. There are families that have the room but do not have the funding to provide long-term hosting to another family or an individual and so the offer to help is never made. The purpose of The Green Ribbon Project is to facilitate the building of these networks of support so these families can make the offer knowing they will receive support.

The first thing people that wish to help will need to do is to decide what type of support system will work for them. Will it be a support system of friends, family members, neighbors, church groups or business entities? The neighbors need not be your immediate neighbors these neighbors can be from down the block or the next street over. The business support need not be from a single store it can be a mix of various stores like Albertsons or Safeway for food products, perhaps Macy's, JC Penny or Sears for clothing.

We feel the support network can be a mix of all these groups to fit the host's and hosted family's needs. Be sure those that have offered to commit the resources understand this might be a six month commitment or more. We recommend the host family not let others over extend themselves or it will impact the hosted family, the hosting family and the support family. If there is a shortfall find it elsewhere perhaps a neighbor or a couple of friends or co-workers.

The most important thing is for the displaced to feel they still have worth in our society and not a burden; indeed and still feel they can contribute to the effort to help themselves and others. To receive information about regional services or volunteer to help call 253-475-5316.

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Mark Ferguson
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