Hurricane Katrina

FIRST has asked us to place this thread to chat with other teams to find support and potential teams for them to join if they have been affected by the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

There are some existing threads discussing related threads; they have been closed and many relevant sources of information have been copied into this thread … please continue discussion here.

Thank You.

I’d hate to see our donations go to pay high six figure salaries for the EOs of the Red Cross,

Does anyone know the relative administrative costs of participating charities? Really, does anybody know?

Yes, and it is easy to find out. From the Red Cross 2004 AUDITED financial statement, their general and administrative expenses were 5% of their total expenses. Fundraising was an additional 3%. That means that about 92 cents of each dollar donated is going to go to aid. That is a good rate.

The best way to help right now is still a cash donation - then whatever charity you donate to can purchase the materials and supplies that are critically needed and get them to the people that need them.

i had gotten a list of ideas for raising funds including

penny war
Fill the Fishbowl
sell candy
donation jars at various business

team 75 also hopes to send some of the samples our sponsor J&j gives us, which include band-aids toothbrushes as well as other hygienic supplies.

anyone else have any other good ideas

I’m from down there, but Im in starkville at college. The infrastructure down there is completely wiped out, no phones or anything. If you want some videos/pictures go to and Thats the local station and paper, the whole area has been completely wiped out. This storm was worse than Hurricane Camille, which had been a benchmark of what is bad up until this point. Death toll is already over 80 and is expected to cap 200.

The following teams are based squarely in the devastation of Hurricane Katrina:
1304 - New Orleans Center for Science and Mathematics
1534 - Marion Abramson Senior High School
1550 - O. Perry Walker Senior High School
1589 - John F. Kennedy Senior High School
364 - Gulfport High School

Based on what I’ve been able to gather from news and other sources, it seems given that these teams will not be participating in the 2006 FIRST competitions. New Orleans is expected to be uninhabitable for upward of four months, while the Mississippi coast is probably facing a similar timeline. In any case, rebuilding infrastructure, homes and businesses will be priority to piecing together the funds and manpower needed for a FIRST team.

Also on the news, I’ve heard reports that the city of Houston, in particular, is preparing to make a temporary home for many of the millions displaced by these storms. Refugees are currently being moved to the Astrodome, former home of FIRST’s Championship event. Houston’s public schools are preparing for an influx of students from the affected areas and the additional needs that are associated with that. Schools need more room, more textbooks and more teachers. Students and families may need subsidized lunches and supplies. These new burdens require money that will assuredly be taken from other, less critical programs. FIRST is, as much as we might hate to admit it, a luxury that should lose funding for these important needs – as should sports and other extracurricular activities.

Genuinely, I hate to rally support without a clear avenue of action in mind, but the breadth and immensity of these events are staggering. I believe that, perhaps, giving the kids and mentors from the teams affected the opportunity to continue in FIRST – in something familiar when all they have has been lost – may be invaluable. What can we do to provide that opportunity?

It may not be rebuilding a levee and erecting a house, but there must be something – smaller, undoubtedly – that we can do for these folks.

I was talking to my contacts in the Coast Guard about what is happening down there and also from people at my fire house that know fire fighters that are in the effected areas they all say the problems have just started. Fires and looting are wide spread and most of the fires are unreachable because of the flooding. The Coast Guard SAR (Search and Rescue) calls have dropped from 2,200 a day once the storm started till the brunt of it was over are now at about 900 a day but many of them are once again in areas and places where getting to people is very hard.

The best way to help the people in need right now is to donate money or supplies to the American Red Cross and to also donate blood to your local blood bank as its need is at an all time high.

This may be one of the only replies from someone who rode out the storm. My family and I stayed in Gulfport at our church. Never have I witnessed destruction like Hurricane Katrina caused. When we were able to return to our home on Monday evening, we were blessed to find only minor damage to it. A tree on the roof, a few missing shingles, and one smashed car (along with the standard tree limbs everywhere) are the only problems we had. We have several friends who were not able to say the same. Trees through the roof, roofs completely gone, homes completely destroyed. So far, we haven’t heard of anyone we personally know who lost their lives.

The problem right now is that there is no electricity, gasoline, or water, and very limited communications. Now, I can make it without lights, my computer, or even my cell phone, but I’ve got to have some water to wash my face with every once in a while. My wife and I decided that we would be better served bringing the kids and coming home to Arkansas to resupply. My son Brandon (bhweezer here on Chief Delphi) and I will be returning to Gulfport on Friday with supplies to last us for a week or so while we begin the cleanup and repair of our home and lives. My wife and our daughters will be staying here in Little Rock until we get things stable. We have heard that there will be no school for at least a month, and many people don’t have jobs any more.

Will Team Fusion be competing in FIRST during the 2006 season? I don’t know. The golf course we use to hold our only fundraiser was destroyed and several of our main corporate sponsors had their businesses trashed. But I can assure you that if we don’t, there will be a few of us who make it to Houston for the Lonestar Regional. Why? Because the “Team with the Psycho Fans” knows how important it is to try and get things back to normal as soon as possible. Please remember everyone along the storm’s path in your prayers tonight.

Some pictures will be posted tomorrow, if possible.


Obviously, this is a devastating event. The first priority for most of the people in the area is their personal safety and that of their families and friends.

Some suggestions for those who are safe and able to participate in FIRST this season…

(1) having all those FIRSTers who have had teams displaced by Katrina form one unified team to compete in FRC or VEX. Logistics might be tough, but it probably could be done.

(2) focus solely on VEX this season and see if a slot can be reserved for these teams at official VEX events. VEX is less expensive and can be developed without significant facilities, which for affected teams are probably not available.

I would imagine that, should someone be able to organize this, other FIRST teams may be able to contribute to the overall cost.

I got thinking about this whole devestation, and reading this post and Andy’s statement really hit home:

And for the life of me, I couldnt figure out how we could help right off the bat… but on my 45 minute commute this morning, I think I came up with something :slight_smile: We could sell little ribbons (Im thinking white ribbons in the shape like the breast cancer ribbons) with pins and little logos on them, and donate all the money to the red cross. We could also make buttons… I have attached a jpg of the image, and I will see if I can upload the publisher file. You can of course make your own… but I am going to try to push this idea to all of the rochester teams… so that collectively we can make a difference!

I’ll upload the ribbon logos when I have them. The idea would be to put a thin laminate over them.



Being a past hurricane survivor, the best thing we can help with is cash donations to the red cross, etc. FIRST has over 1000 active teams and if each team donated $100.00 the total combined effort would be more than 100,000. Better yet if each team was able to donate $1,000 then the total combined effort would be over a million.

I can look into setting up an account to accept donations and have the proceeds go to the red cross. Does anyone think else this is a good idea?

I hope the teams affected by the hurricane can have a FIRST season. Even if they all combined into one team, or joined other teams.

When I was a kid, my dad was a member of the local Rotary Club. As a Rotarian, he would volunteer to host exchange students from other countries. This added much to my childhood experience, as people from many cultures would stay with us for 3-4 months at a time.

We had young men from Germany, Brazil and Saudi Arabia stay with us. Once, a young lady from Australia was our guest. I recall asking her “what language do you speak in Australia?” (I was about 8)

I am wondering if we could do this for students on these FIRST teams in the Gulf Coast area? Of course, this time, there would be no “exchange”. It could be a placement program for FIRST students from teams in this area.

Could this happen? Is it needed? What are some of the legal hurdles here? If anyone wants to help investigate this, PM me and we can start working on this idea.

Andy B.

The biggest problem my team competing would be funding. Most of our corporate sponsors are located on or near a major body of water, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were severely damaged or destroyed from flooding. Every year Team Fusion has a golf tournament which gets us a bulk of our funding for the year. I live about two blocks from a golf course and it was nearly wiped out, with major flooding and trees down. The course we use for the tournament is closer to where the eye of the storm crossed so it probably received even more damage. I can’t see us getting the money we need to compete. I hope I’m wrong and I will try my best to get my team to a competition.

I think one of the scariest things about the hurricane is that there is NO communication along the coast. Cell phones will get service for about 5 minutes every hour, and even then you can not receive calls. I have only heard from one team member since the storm. I have another friend whose parents haven’t heard from him since Sunday.

Though I like the multi-team efforts that are being tossed around, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an elaborate undertaking to give something back to these teams.

Back in 2000 when the homes of members of Bound Brook, NJ (Team 56’s town) suffered flood damage, 237 stood outside their local supermarket with a can for a few hours on a Saturday. Not only was it an excellent teambuilding activity, but we ended up raising a couple hundred dollars - which ended up being matched by one of our mentors. It also helped build a bond between the two teams that is apparent years later.

Because of the media coverage, giving money to hurricane relief is an easy sell, and much easier to implement on a team-by-team basis.

PS - I know it’s already been mentioned, but don’t forget to give blood! Every 2 seconds someone needs blood, and with the hurricane, the already low summer levels are even lower.

I’d hate to see our donations go to pay high six figure salaries for the EOs of the Red Cross, or to get siphoned off toward “future disasters” the way the RC did with the 9/11 donations.

Does anyone know the relative administrative costs of participating charities? Really, does anybody know?

All I know is that back in the 60s my fellow servicemen despised the Red Cross and recommended the Salvation Army because one would charge the needy for services, while the other did not. That has stuck with me since then. I want to know who gets what.

A friend of mine, professional zydeco fiddler Lisa Haley, notified me today about The Louisiana Hurricane Relief Concert in Redondo Beach, CA on Sat., Sept 10 at Aviation Park from 12 noon - 7PM.

This event will benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina in combination with the Redondo Beach Patriots Day event in memory of the victims of 9/11. Lisa is lining up several bands that play Louisiana style music, including her own band.

Suggested Admission: tax-deductible donation of $15 to the Salvation Army, Redondo Beach Chapter, to be earmarked for distribution to Salvation Army relief efforts in Louisiana.

If you live in our area, you could come and hear some fun music, maybe even dance a bit, and make a small monetary donation to help the hurricane victims.

If you live elsewhere, maybe you could help local musicians organize a similar event. I was wondering how she organized this so fast, but I see she’s working with the city to “piggyback” onto an existing event. (She’s played concerts for city events numerous times before; experience helps!)

Lisa’s website is, but I don’t think she’s updated it yet to include this event.

The University of Delaware and Delaware Technical are accepting students and providing as much housing as possible to students from all of those colleges that were affected we already have 3 people coming next week for Fire Eng from one of those schools.

After 9/11 my family donated to the RC, but we were not happy with the way that turned out. Last winter, with the tsunami, we decided to donate money to Samaritan’s Purse. They followed up with newsletters about what they were doing to help. Here is an article about what they are doing right now about Katrina:

I followed Kim’s link and see that they have a 4-star rating! cool!
Thanks Kim ! :slight_smile:

We don’t have to feel helpless about this tragedy, the best thing we can do for the victims of Katrina is to pray, today and everyday.

–Mike O’Brien

For those who use the iTunes Music Store, Apple has added a one-click button to donate money to the RC, between $5-$200.

I feel so helpless, and guilty, in my concoon at Dayton, while some people are living with dead bodies around them and 20 feet deep water.

Blood banks around the country are sending blood to the area, even while they are critically low themselves. I know in Northern Virginia, Inova Blood Donor Services, our major blood supplier has less than a days supply on hand of almost all blood types. Blood banks in New Orleans and in most places throughout the country are in a similar state. Less then 5% of the eligible population actually donates on a regular basis.

Tragedy strikes everywhere, help your community to be prepared. For most donation services, you only need to get 50 people signed up to host a blood drive. Teams that have space for a field have the room needed for a drive. You can use it as part of a team/Red Cross fundraiser in addition to getting blood. Get people to sponsor a donor much like a walk-a-thon with the procedes going to the team/a team support fund for the New Orleans area/whomever you want.


Our school has a blood drive on Sept 6 and I’m pushing to be able to give blood then (I had open heart surgery as a child so I have to check with my doctor)

Also members of our team are thinking of starting a clothes drive. I have so many shirts in my closet that I probably don’t need and I probably donate clothes about 4-5 times a year – this time though, I’ll really clean it out good. Everyone has a shirt or two to donate, and I’m sure the SALVATION ARMY can handle these big loads – especially now. It’d be great to get other teams into this and start clothes drives with their own teams and at their own schools.

Finally, in my art class, my art teacher is holding a money drive and she promised to match what we give. Just yesterday she collected 106 dollars – just from students who had extra money that they didn’t need, and that was through 4 periods in the day! It’s not hard to donate some spare change – maybe hold the dessert next time and donate that money to charity. Even if it’s a little, it counts.

Sitting through the mildest part of Hurricane Katrina, I cannot even imagine what people went through in mississippi, louisiana, and alabama. They need our help in every way possible, it’s our duty to stand up to that.