Strengthen The Good

Using the power of weblogs for open-source charity. Don’t just fight evil: Strengthen the good.

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Strengthen The Good In Florida

1 September 2005 Update: If you’ve found this page because you’re looking to help with Katrina relief, or because you’re looking for a matching donation program, please visit our Matching The Good: Katrina Relief page. We’re matching donations up to a total of $1,000 with a donation to the Red Cross 2005 Hurricane fund. If you’d like to join in the match challenge (helping us up the match to more than $1,000) through a donation of your own, please email me at alan at strengthenthegood dot com. Thanks.


[NOTE: If you’re coming to this post from an external link and are a blogger, the concept is to create a network of bloggers who raise awareness of “micro charities”—charitable opportunities that are simple, personal, non-bureaucratic, and inspiring. Charitable opportunities where someone can feel great about giving $1, or even just from reading the story of the charity, it’s sponsors, and it’s beneficiaries.

I’ll find them, if you’ll link to them. All I ask is that you please consider joining our network. Read more on the main page, or go here to join right away and help us strengthen the good. Thanks.]

[NOTE 2: I’ve moved this post to the top of the page as there’s updated information about how to offer general help until we post our Charley micro-charity. Thanks.]

We are getting many requests at Command Post for how to help people in Florida. I and others are working as you read this to locate a “micro-charity” in the area that fits with the mission of this site: local charities with a personal face, with very little or no overhead, where the story of the organizers and beneficiaries are inspiring, and where $1 can make a difference.

I’m afraid that with Charley, we’ll have many choices.

Until we can select a single person or group, however, there are things people can do in the interim to offer relief to the region, and I’ve posted some initial sources here as an interim step.

Thanks for working to strengthen the good.

* News Channel 8 in Tampa are collecting relief items to deliver “essentials” to the hardest hit areas. The News Center is also teaming up with Wal Mart to collect and distribute these items. Items can be dropped off at the News Center - 200 S. Parker Street - just south of Kennedy, near downtown. Collection is going on Sun., Aug. 15, from noon-4 p.m. Go here for details about items and locations.

* SunTrust Bank, along with News Channel 8, The Tampa Tribune and, have partnered with the United Way to help victims of Hurricane Charley. Beginning Mon., Aug. 16, all SunTrust branch locations in the News Channel 8 viewing area will be accepting cash donations to help in the recovery and rebuilding of the affected counties. For more information please stop by a local branch … go here to find locations.

* Volunteer Florida has guidance on how to help here.

* In response to the outpouring of support for victims of Hurricane Charley, Volunteer Florida, the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, has established a hotline to take offers of volunteers and donations. The State of Florida Volunteers & Donations Hotline number is: 1-800-FL-HELP-1

* Here’s a list of Florida Red Cross chapters.

* The Charlotte EOC is asking any hotels able to donate towels, soap, toothpastes, shampoos, and toothbrushes - call emergency management at (540) 542-7246. Deliveries are at the EOC center on Utilities Road.

* NBC 2 in Ft. Myers has an excellent list of information for people in the area here, including guidance on who should go to work Monday, power restoration, and other details.

* STG network member Shutterblog notes that one item critical for many, but missing from most of the “what you can send” lists, is baby forumula. She’s even gone so far as to draft a letter you can send to formula manufacturers … see the post and letter here.

More sources to contact if you’re in the area:

* Salvation Army (money, supplies, volunteers): 1-800-725-2769
* Red Cross (Port Charlotte): 941-629-4345
* Red Cross (Hillsborough): 877-251-0921
* Red Cross (Polk): 863-294-5941
* Red Cross (toll-free): 1-800-741-1444
* Metropolitan Ministries: 813-209-1000
* Adventist Community Services: (800) 381-7171
* Christian Contractors Association: (800) 278-7703
* Church World Service: (800) 297-1516
* Florida Conference United Church of Christ: 420 N. Magnolia Ave., Suite 250, Orlando, FL 32803
* Volunteer Florida Foundation: (850) 921-0457

Update: 127 Members & Counting

127 blogs and counting in the network, which is something to feel good about in itself, I think. We’re making progress in identifying our Charley charity … it might be a bit more macro that what will be our standard—things are simply just so chaotic down there (still), that finding that perfect person may take weeks, let alone days—but it won’t be United Way macro.

And we really should act while people are in the greatest need.

But that’s my problem to solve, and I expect that this Sunday night I’ll email the first charity post. In the meantime, you can get a sense of just how chaotic things are in Gulf-Coast Florida by visiting this large gallery of post-Charley aerial photos, taken by a Florida DJ (the “Schnitt Show”). They are astonishing. (Nod to Seki.)

Thanks for all you do to strengthen the good.

The Good Keeps Getting Stronger

What do Al Franken, Virginia Postrel, Michele Catalano, Solonor, Seldom Sober, and Jeremy Grimshaw have in common? They’ve all joined the Strengthen The Good network. We’re at 89 blogs and counting, and the response continues to be wonderful.

In terms of a charity update, Tammi, Wolf, and Jay are either on the ground in the Gulf Coast looking for the right charity or talking to people who are. We have several medium-sized options right now, but are still searching for just the right person or group who fits our micro-charity mission (the lack of power in the area continues to be the problem … in many places information transfer is still face-to-face, so ideas aren’t diffusing quickly). When I find the right person or group, and I will, we’ll activate the network.

That said, I already have group number two … a person who does something so touching and remarkable it’s nearly hard to believe. But that story will wait for another day.

I’ll keep you posted, and thanks again for working to strengthen the good.

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