Local efforts help victims of terrorist attack

This month’s devastating terrorist attacks may have hit hardest thousands of miles away from San Diego, but pain and suffering has reached people across the nation and sparked a zealous local response.

Organizations and individuals have united to show their support for fellow Americans and to do what they can to ease the shock. Local chapters of national organizations such as the American Red Cross, the Liberty Fund, the Salvation Army and the Firefighters Relief Fund have all been involved in the effort to rebuild and recuperate.

Many organizations, including the American Red Cross, reported monetary donations reaching into the millions. In addition to monetary and blood donations, the Red Cross is also providing mental health care crisis counseling for any who feel they need it. Specially trained mental health workers have also been sent to New York and Washington, D.C. to provide services to the vast numbers of witnesses and families of victims.

The San Diego Red Cross has sent several volunteers to the attack sites. On Sept. 11, local members of the Spiritual Care Aviation Incident Response awaited a military transport to New York to provide spiritual care.

Local radio and television stations have also made immense contributions.

On Sept. 22, radio station Star 100.7 FM organized the “”Human Flag 2001,”” which 6,000 people attended, forming the American flag to represent and remember the victims of the attacks. The event was held at Qualcomm Stadium at 7:30 a.m. Photos of the event will be made into posters that will be sold for $5 on the Star Web site. All proceeds from poster sales will benefit the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

Star also helped create “”Together We Stand”” pins, distributed with a minimum donation of $1. Again, all proceeds go to the Red Cross fund. Pins are available at Westfield shopping centers.

760 KFMB has also displayed its American pride and patriotism by giving away flags since Tuesday and setting up information hotlines for the city of San Diego.

KFMB Channel 8 was also involved in the nationwide effort to benefit relief and recovery efforts. Channel 8 was one of four major television stations and at least 20 other affiliated channels that simultaneously broadcast Sept. 21 the “”America, A Tribute to Heroes”” telethon. The event was a collaboration by the networks and featured notable celebrities and entertainers such as Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.

The San Diego Blood Bank has asked all eligible San Diegans to donate blood or money to aid its efforts to remember and assist the victims. The blood bank also teamed with the San Diego County Credit Union to create a San Diego Blood Bank Visa card. For every purchase made on the special credit card a contribution will be made to the San Diego Blood Bank.

The local chapter of the Salvation Army has also been heavily involved in recovery efforts. Nationwide, the Salvation Army has already collected $1.6 million in donations. The Salvation Army National Commander, Commissioner John Busby spoke about the organization’s response.

“”The Salvation Army has a center of operation in nearly every city in this country and each is fully mobilized and on alert to help all affected by this act of terror both physically and emotionally, now and in the days to come,”” Busby said.

The Salvation Army is sending canteens to the former George Air Force Base in Victorville, Calif., which has been reopened to planes transporting supplies. Planes will also be carrying evacuees from dangerous cities. The Salvation Army will be serving two or three meals per day in New York and Washington.

San Diego firefighters have also been doing what they can to help. Near fire stations throughout the county, local firefighters could be seen standing outside and on neighboring streetcorners, accepting donations in their rubber boots. Their locations were broadcast on several local radio stations, letting San Diegans know where they could contribute.

The community has also had a deeply personal response to the events of Sept. 11. Vigils have been held throughout San Diego, including here on campus, and cars and houses can be seen decorated with American flags to demonstrate national support.

The community effort is a vital and important one. We as a nation cannot hope to fully recover and unify if local communities cannot strive for solidarity and American pride.

San Diego has had one of the most impassioned responses where individual efforts have contributed to the cause to rebuild, recover and prove America’s strength to the rest of the world.

The following organizations are accepting contributions:

United Way of San Diego County

Melissa Warwick

Campaign Analyst for San Diego Chapter of United Way

4699 Murphy Canyon Road

San Diego, CA 92123

(858) 492-2000


161 Cherry St.

New Canaan, CT 06840

(800) 486-HELP

American Red Cross

San Diego Imperial Counties Chapter

3650 5th Ave.

San Diego, CA 92103

(619) 542-7400


Salvation Army

180 East Ocean Blvd.

Long Beach, CA 90802

(800) SAL-ARMY


New York Firefighters 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund

International Association of Firefighters

P.O. Box 65858

Washington, D.C. 20035-5858

(202) 737-8484


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