Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Disaster Relief

On Monday it looked like New Orleans had dodged the maelstrom. But now it appears that the worst really has happened. The Big Easy will never be the same.

I'm planning to donate some money today. I figured American Red Cross was the obvious choice -- but now Glenn Reynolds has posted a list of charities that doesn't even include it (perhaps he considered it too obvious?). [UPDATE: As Gil points out in the comments, I just overlooked the Red Cross link.] Does anyone know any reason I should not give to the American Red Cross? Diminishing returns from insufficient staff to handle the level of donations, perhaps? I'd like for my contribution, paltry though it may be, to have its best possible effect.

I was also planning to empty my closet of all those clothes I don't wear any more and give them to the Salvation Army, but they're not accepting in-kind contributions at this time.

UPDATE: I looked into a few other organizations, but ultimately I went with the Red Cross.


Gil said...

Um... The American Red Cross is first on Glenn's list.

Maybe you didn't notice it because that link showed up as a different color because you've already visited it recently?

I donated to them. Perhaps there's a better choice out there somewhere, but I'm pretty confident that the Red Cross uses its resources as efficiently as an organization of that size can be expected to, and it's probably not worth it for me to find a better one.

Gil said...


Donating to charity is not like voting. It's not winner-take-all and incredibly unlikely to make any difference in outcomes. Each dollar can do some good. $100 can buy quite a few meals and supplies to help people in a desparate situation. Many people's contributions can combine to enable significant help (structures, emergency equipment, etc.)

I suspect that Glenn would agree with me that we'd like to see less demand for tax-funded governnment disaster-relief programs. These are less efficient and less moral (because of the taxation) than private solutions. I think people voluntarily helping others (if they can afford to) is a good thing, and I don't mind engaging in and encouraging that sort of activity.

Gil said...

Damn. I meant Glen, not Glenn.