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From the Sound, aid and prayer are offered to the Bayou
Seattle Times staff reporter
Day by day, hour by hour, the horror playing out in New Orleans has turned to action in the Puget Sound area.
People donated money to relief agencies — and then tried to think of more creative ways to help. Corporations and sports teams pledged aid for the hungry and the homeless. Colleges opened their doors to students unable to return to their Gulf Coast schools. Some people simply prayed.
"We're all in this together," said Jean Carpenter, executive director of the Washington state PTA and a donor to relief agencies. "We are called to help these people because they are our family as well."
Gathering in prayer
Tears filled Liz Skofield's eyes after she prayed for friends in New Orleans during a noon Mass yesterday at Seattle University's Chapel of St. Ignatius. She was among about 50 people who gathered to support those affected by the hurricane.
Coverage of Hurricane Katrina
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"Each of us, in our own way, are stunned and numb and don't know what to do," the Rev. Stephen Sundborg, president of Seattle University, said at the Mass. "Something like this could happen to us."
The school is accepting college students from Catholic campuses closed by the hurricane and flooding. Already, 10 such students — mainly from Loyola and Tulane universities — are confirmed for this fall.
The University of Washington also will accept displaced students.
Carpenter, of the state PTA, picked up a newspaper yesterday and saw a picture of a place on the Gulf Coast where her family vacationed when she was a child.
"Now there's nothing there," said Carpenter, who grew up in Hattiesburg, Miss., and now lives in Bellevue. "My history is blown away."
Gone, too, is the school in Gulfport, Miss., where she did her student teaching. "That's where I learned to care about children and teach, and it's gone."
She has heard from a nephew there that other relatives are all right. And she takes a certain comfort in knowing that the high school in Gulfport where her cousin is principal has been turned into a shelter.
"That's somehow connecting and beautiful," she said. "But it's also very painful."
Carpenter and other PTA members have donated to relief agencies. Now they're beginning to brainstorm ways the state PTA can help schools and schoolchildren in the Gulf Coast area after the most dire needs have been addressed.
"We're looking at this not as a one-month or two-month thing," she said. "It's looking like a longtime recovery."
The Internet weighs in
Amazon.com helped raise more than $600,000 for the American Red Cross in less than a day as customers donated money through the company Web site.
Craigslist, which features online classified ads and forums, has a resource page for Katrina survivors, with photos of missing relatives and friends and thousands of families across the country offering their homes.
Hurricane Katrina-related events
Candlelight vigil: St. James Cathedral, at Ninth Avenue and Marion Street, hosts an ecumenical candlelight vigil for the victims of Hurricane Katrina at 6:30 tonight. Information: 206-622-3559.
Radio fund drive: From 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. today, KMTT-FM (103.7) will open its phone lines and studio e-mail accounts to receive listener requests. For a minimum donation of $50 to the Red Cross, listeners can request any song from the station's music library, and DJs will play as many requests as possible during those nine hours. Request line: 206-233-8984 or 800-676-KMTT
Other events: Other upcoming fund-raisers and relief efforts will be listed in The Seattle Times this Sunday.
On Wednesday, Sara and David Harmon of the Green Lake area posted a notice there offering shelter to those left homeless by the hurricane. As of yesterday, the only responses were from local readers praising the couple for their offer.
Other Seattle fund-raising and relief efforts on craigslist included an advertisement for a lemonade stand in Alki this weekend and offers to transport goods and water south.
Business, sports donate
Boeing announced yesterday it will donate $1 million to the Red Cross and match employee contributions to the charity.
Volunteers from the Seattle Mariners and the Red Cross collected donations at Mariners games yesterday and on Wednesday.
Seattle Storm center Janell Burse, a New Orleans native, started a fund to support the New Orleans-based Franklin Avenue Baptist Church's hurricane-relief efforts. Donations can be made through the team.
The Tacoma Rainiers will collect money at its games at Cheney Stadium today through Monday for the Red Cross. And volunteers will collect money for Northwest Medical Teams at the Seattle Seahawks game tonight.
King County Executive Ron Sims proposed an emergency ordinance that would allow county employees to convert up to 40 hours of vacation time into a cash donation to the Red Cross. A similar ordinance approved by the County Council in January raised more than $100,000 for tsunami-relief efforts.
Veteran disaster volunteers Dave Wukasch, an Auburn family physician, and his wife Debra, a nurse, head out today in a Northwest Medical Teams van to Baton Rouge, a staging area for relief workers.
Lexie Proctor, a seventh-grader at Marysville Middle School, is trying to raise $2,000 so she can order 5,000 silicone bracelets to sell at schools, local clubs and festivals. She hopes to raise $20,000 to donate to the Red Cross that way.
And Janet Morgan, owner of Might Be Antique in Everett, is planning to donate the proceeds of her going-out-of-business sale this Saturday to relief efforts.
"I wanted to go down there, but physically, I'm not able to," said Morgan, who has a bad back and bad knees. "I am so affected by it when I watch it on the news. It breaks my heart. It's like I'm there and I'm feeling it."
Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Seattle Times staff members Christina Siderius, Lara Bain, Warren King,
Linda Shaw and Cathy Henkel contributed to this story.IF YOU GO
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