In Our View: How to Help Sandy Victims

Local folks join with deeds and dollars; Red Cross comes through again

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Clark County residents have never been bashful about helping each other. Often that generosity is focused within our own ZIP codes. But, whether it's sending firetrucks across county lines to help neighbors, or donating money to needy Americans on the other side of the country, or helping disaster victims across the globe, the size of this community's heart is incalculable.Now comes another call, this time from the East Coast, and already local residents have responded in both deeds and dollars. Clark Public Utilities has sent 11 workers (two crews and one superintendent) to New Jersey to help restore power that was snuffed out by Superstorm Sandy. Back here at home, the weather forecast "looks mild and manageable for the next two weeks, and we have no concerns about the ability to respond to local emergencies while these crews assist others," said Wayne Nelson, the utility's general manager.

That's the way Americans are. And we suspect the fine folks in New Jersey would return the favor when disaster relief assistance is needed here.

Other Clark County residents are likely to heed the call because they are Wells Fargo customers. In a national announcement Wednesday, the bank said it has programmed most of 12,000 ATMS around the country to allow customers to donate to American Red Cross relief efforts through Nov. 13. Several of those ATMs are in Clark County. No fee is charged, and 100 percent of the donations will go where it's needed. Wells Fargo got the ball rolling with a $1 million donation.

Other major companies have been quick to respond. Kohl's Department Stores also donated $1 million to American Red Cross efforts on the Eastern Seaboard. We're sure the list is long of businesses that have donated and found other ways to expedite aid to the storm victims.

Notice a recurring theme here? Yes, it's our old friend, the American Red Cross, the nonprofit that depends on volunteers and public donations to provide international humanitarian aid. On Halloween night, more than 7,000 Sandy victims stayed in 115 Red Cross shelters in nine states stretching from Rhode Island to Delaware to West Virginia. By Thursday, Red Cross disaster workers had served 164,000 meals. A dozen mobile kitchens, capable of producing a combined 198,000 meals daily, were sent to the Sandy impact area.

Although many Clark County residents might feel an urge to donate food or equipment, the best way to help the American Red Cross is financially. This can be done by visiting American Red Cross. Or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Another powerful way to help the American Red Cross is to donate blood, because almost 360 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled in the storm area. To schedule a time or learn about blood drives, visit the website. A search on Thursday afternoon showed numerous blood-drive sites in Clark County.

Of lesser importance, one donation of sorts was made for a couple of days by national politicians, with a cease-fire in their campaign hostilities. This rare harmony was most vivid in New Jersey, where Republican Gov. Chris Christie cited the "extraordinary leadership" of Democratic President Barack Obama, who in turn praised Christie and told New Jersey residents "your governor is working overtime." Both men apparently understand a basic principle found at the confluence of science and politics: Mother Nature is neither liberal nor conservative.