Donations 'will provide immediate and long-term assistance for the most marginalized people affected by this catastrophe.'
A little more than five weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck, contributions have topped $2 million for the Gulf Coast Relief Fund cosponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. The fund was created in early September to aid survivors of Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama coasts on August 29. It is also being used to support relief efforts for Hurricane Rita, which followed Katrina, striking the Texas coast.
“Your contributions will be used to support individuals through on-the-ground secular and religious organizations, including the UUA, and will provide immediate and long-term assistance for the most marginalized people affected by this catastrophe,” UUA President William G. Sinkford and Charlie Clements, UUSC’s president and CEO, said in a joint statement. “We will also search for opportunities to address the policies of exclusion and neglect that contributed to the magnitude of the suffering and destruction. Through your contributions, we work together to heal not only the disaster-impacted communities, congregations and lives, but ourselves as well.”
The fund passed the $2 million mark Friday. Decisions about use of proceeds will be made by a panel of seven people led by the Rev. Meg Riley, director of the UUA's Advocacy and Witness Staff Group. The group has met several times and so far has made grants of $25,000 to each of the three New Orleans-area Unitarian Universalist congregations.
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Donald E. Skinner was the founding editor of the InterConnections newsletter for congregational leaders and a senior editor of UU World from 1998 until his retirement in 2014. He is a member of the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church in Lenexa, Kansas.