The Booth family, good friends of ours and amazing people who are struggling to
recover from the Southern California Wildfires, have given me new energy in my work to
bring natural disaster preparation and mitigation to the national consciousness.
The Booths are still just gazing at their FEMA trailer from a distance. Code issues,
whatever that means, are preventing installation. But they're still just so happy to see it
sitting on their property. We had to fight every step of the way to get it there- and
please click here to read their story and the website I put together for them:
The trailer is 840 square feet and fully wheelchair friendly,- it's going to feel like a
palace to the Booths after what they've been through, once they move in.
You know, I've fielded a lot of grief for my questioning the integrity of the Red Cross.
After the Cedar four years ago (which almost wiped out my family), the Red Cross took
millions of donated dollars from all around the world and I really, honestly, swear to God
have no idea where that money went because this is a small town and I know a lot of
people and none of them got any assistance worth mentioning. I didn't expect any, so for
us it was fine. But I know a lot of people who could have really used it- people who are
still homeless to this day and that fire was October 2003.
At the time, I asked questions- and got the "criteria" response, IE: people had to meet
certain criteria to receive financial assistance from the Red Cross. They had to have
absolutely no insurance, they had to be "total loss" victims. Okay. So- given the
criteria, does that mean there are lots of previously uninsured, total loss fire victims living
in brand new million dollar homes? Where DID that money go?
So now, four years later, we're looking at the 2007 Witch Fire - and all the millions
donated for these survivors, I'm remembering how they had tables of people on the
phone behind the newscasters, taking donations and how the news folks urged viewers
to pick up the phone and donate to the Red Cross while they showed footage of
leaping flames engulfing homes- and how companies and giant corporations donated so
generously- and now, almost 3 months to the day of the fire- how much do you think
people like the Booths received?
People like the Booths who had no insurance and were total loss victims? People like the
Booths who have a daughter on life support who lives with them? People like the
Booths who lost both their home and their entire business in one hellish night?
Just guess. Come up with a figure you feel is reasonable and then read on:
When I asked her yesterday, Nichole wrote "We got $1900 on a credit card from the red
cross that first week (of the fire). We got it that day I saw you at the relief center, I
haven't talked to them since that day."
Quick, someone do the math. $1900 for the six members of the Booth family divides out
to a grand total of $316.67 per person.
Again, I'm asking what the Red Cross did with all that money. I sure would love to know.
And until someone enlightens me to my satisfaction, I'm just going to keep asking.
So if you're in line in a store one day and some blonde behind you starts ranting to
anyone in earshot about the plastic "donate here for the Red Cross" collection box,--
don't worry. It's just me.
|Entry For January 21, 2008
Where, Oh Where, Did Our Money Go?