This issue is dedicated to our friends, family and everyone in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana who will be dealing with the devastation of Hurricane Harvey for months and years to come.
As those of us who went through Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures in 2005 know well, the suffering goes on long after the media pack up.
The image on the cover is We Will Rise Again by the late George Rodrigue (pictured). He created it in 2005 to help Louisiana as we recovered from Katrina; $700,000 was raised from sales of the print. Now the George Rodrigue Foundation for the Arts and the Rodrigue family are reissuing the print to raise money for schools affected by Harvey. For more information or to purchase a silkscreen print, visit www.rodriguefoundation.org/site504.php. — Kevin Allman
Cash only, please
If you want to help disaster victims, donate cash, not stuff
A collection of teddy bears or a U-Haul piled high with canned soup make heartwarming photo ops after a natural disaster. But experts say those well-intentioned donations aren't the most effective way to help victims. To make the most impact (and to ease the burden on charitable groups), stick to cash donations to organizations you trust.
"[The] bottom line: Goods are expensive to ship, time-consuming to sort through and organize, and might not meet the needs on the ground," says Cory Sparks, director of Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations' Institute for Nonprofit Excellence. "There's no disagreement among disaster professionals."
Sparks cites a recent NPR interview with Center for Disaster Philanthropy President Bob Ottenhoff discussing Hurricane Harvey aid. In that conversation, Ottenhoff points out that donated goods often are challenging to store and distribute, especially while some roadways remain impassable and storage facilities may be damaged. It's preferable to make cash donations to groups with a sense of a recovering community's needs that can allocate money as issues arise. As nonprofits and charities put cash donations to work, they also stimulate recovering businesses and the local economy, while goods donations don't offer the same benefit.
So hold onto those teddy bears, for now — and open your wallets. — Kat Stromquist
Harvey relief efforts in New Orleans
Local events and fundraisers
Texas relief efforts and groups that need our help
How to help our neighbors
Water, water everywhere: the view from Houston
How Houston plans to handle housing issues for thousands of residents