Maryland volunteers taking supplies, skills to Gulf Coast

Medical, public safety personnel depart

Loyola offers tuition-free classes

Katrina's Wake

September 06, 2005|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF

Maryland volunteers streamed south yesterday to bring desperately needed supplies and skills to the hurricane-stricken Gulf Coast, as a Baltimore college offered tuition-free enrollment to up to 100 students displaced by the storm.

One week after Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, 70 doctors, nurses and pharmacists flew to the region to provide medical help, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. announced.

The caregivers were bound for Jefferson Parish - a particularly hard-hit section of southern Louisiana - on two Maryland National Guard C-130s.

The governor's office said an additional 40 emergency medical personnel were heading for the parish by land, taking ambulances and other emergency vehicles as part of a team organized by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Service Systems.

The contingent was accompanied by about 60 Montgomery County firefighters who were taking fire engines and life-support equipment.

Howard County sent 20 firefighters to Gretna, La., as part of a Maryland contingent, said County Executive James N. Robey. He said the county also has offered to find housing at a still-to-be-determined location for up to 500 people displaced by the storm.

Loyola College announced that 20 students from two Catholic universities in New Orleans will begin classes today at its Baltimore campus.

Loyola spokesman Jamie Smith said the students come from Loyola University New Orleans, another Jesuit-run school, and from Xavier University, a traditionally African-American Catholic institution.

Smith said the Baltimore college is committing at least $300,000 to help students from New Orleans for the fall semester. He said that in addition to helping the students, Loyola College wants to protect other Catholic schools from having to pay refunds at a time of financial crisis. Loyola is prepared to enroll as many as 100 students from the gulf region this semester, Smith said.

He said priority will be given to the two Catholic schools but that students from Tulane and other universities will be invited if vacancies remain.

As the college welcomed the evacuated students, churches and charities in Maryland mobilized to raise funds and provide relief for Katrina's victims.

The Salvation Army dispatched nine mobile feeding units, known as canteens, from its Maryland-West Virginia region to meet in Jackson, Miss. An additional 50 units are being sent from across North America.

Lafcea Watson, a Salvation Army spokeswoman, said the local units would be given an assignment in the hurricane zone after the rendezvous in Jackson. She said each can feed a couple of hundred people three meals a day for five days before being resupplied.

Meanwhile, Maryland churches were raising funds for hurricane relief.

At Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore, the Rev. Frank M. Reid set a goal of raising more than $100,000 for victims of the hurricane and a famine in Niger.

First Baptist Church in Baltimore issued what it called "an emergency call to action," urging other congregations and community leaders to join a coalition to help hurricane victims with transportation, shelter and other needs.

Starting what it called Operation Love, the church announced plans to form a caravan of volunteers to bring hurricane victims back to Baltimore.

The church invited potential participants to attend a prayer meeting at 7 tonight at 525 N. Caroline St.

Sun staff writer Larry Carson contributed to this article.

To make donations

Most charities are requesting financial donations rather than goods or clothing. This enables them to use the money within the communities that are most affected. Among them are:

American Red Cross: www.redcross.org, 800-435-7669 or 800-HELP-NOW

America's Second Harvest, for hunger relief: www.secondharvest.org or 800-344-8070

Catholic Charities: www.catholiccharitiesusa.org or 800-919-9338

Church World Service: www.churchworldservice.org or 800-297-1516

Episcopal Relief & Development: www.er-d.org or 800-334-7626

Humane Society of the United States: www.hsus.org

Islamic Relief: www.irw.org/katrina

McCormick Tribune Foundation. The Sun is a partner in this relief campaign. The foundation will match the first $2 million donated at a rate of 50 cents on the dollar: www.mccormicktribune.org or 800-508-2848

Network for Good, provides easy donations to a number of charities, including chapters of the United Way in Florida and Louisiana: www.networkforgood.org

Operation USA, for grants, supplies and transportation: www.opusa.org or 800-678-7255

Salvation Army: www.salvationarmyusa.org, 800-725-2769 or 800-SAL-ARMY

United Jewish Communities: www.ujc.org

United Methodist Committee on Relief: gbgm-umc.org/umcor/emergency/hurricanes/2005/ or 800-554-8583

Associated Press, Knight Ridder/Tribune

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