I want to thank all of you who replied to
the message on this website which was posted yesterday
(September 1, 2005).
I wish I could personally respond to each
and every email sent to me but there aren't enough
hours in the day for me to do that. Many of your
replies were very well thought out and contained excellent
I believe I now have, to the best of my
ability, come up with a few ideas to help people who have
been ravaged by this monster hurricane.
First, I'd like to say very emphatically...
It's Not Over!
Not by a long shot. Even if all of the water
in New Orleans somehow "magically" evaporated in the next
few hours, most of the homes would still be unfit to repair
and make livable once again. I know this because I had
a client some time ago who was in the business of mold
remediation. He was a nice, plain, soft-spoken guy who I
referred to as "The Nightmare Man". If he
would come out and
inspect your home for mold and then tell you the toxic
effects mold has on the human body, it would scare the wits
out of you. When he talks to families about their mold
problems, many of the wives pack up immediately and move to
a hotel. They tell their husbands that if they want to "sleep"
with them, they'll have to move into the hotel with them...
and... they will have to stay there until all the mold is
removed and their house is safe once again.
Mold is caused by moisture. Having mold in
your house is like living with an invisible Saddam Hussein
who is sneaking around spraying the most toxic chemicals
known to man into the place you live. People get very sick
from the effects of mold. The diseases caused by mold are
too numerous to mention. A lot of people actually die from
the toxins caused by mold. Those people (and their doctors)
never know the source of their deadly diseases.
Well, as far as moisture is concerned, I
think right now, New Orleans, Louisiana, might be considered
the "Moisture Capital of the World". What I'm trying to say
is this: Many of the people of New Orleans are never
going to be able to safely live in their homes again.
That is, of course, also true for many of
the people who lived in nearby Mississippi and Alabama and
whose lives have been shattered by this cataclysmic
But wait! There's more!
The hurricane season is only half over. If
you watch the Weather Channel, you know new tropical
depressions are already in the Atlantic Ocean as I
write these very words. And the experts say the chances are good the last half of
this hurricane season is going to be worse than what
we have already experienced. "They" are out there. "They"
are gathering their strength. And "they" are coming to get
Not only that, because of global warming,
scientists say we can expect horrible hurricane seasons of
this nature to continue...
For At Least The Next 10 To 15 Years!
I think I have good ideas about what we
should do. But before I discuss and reveal my ideas, I want
to discuss how you can help the
victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Right off the bat, I'd like to say that as
far as I am concerned, raising money is the easy part.
Seeing to it the money is spent intelligently is the part
that's really difficult.
President Bush has already pledged 10
Billion Dollars to help relieve the sufferings of the
hurricane victims. To me, that statement offers no comfort
whatsoever. My guess is, if the U.S. Government does
contribute 10 Billion Dollars, the major part of it will
somehow end up in the bank accounts of Halliburton
executives and the executives of other large corporations. I
believe anybody who looks to the United States Government to
remedy any problem is extremely foolish and blind to the
realities of our government.
After reading your replies about the Red
Cross and FEMA, I feel very comfortable in saying neither of
those organizations should ever, ever receive a dime of your
Many of my newsletter readers recommended money be sent
to something called "Catholic Charities". I think Catholic
Charities might be an excellent and ethical organization.
But I certainly don't want my name highlighted with any
organization that has the word "Catholic". Why? It's very
simple. The Catholic Church is riddled with pedophiles. It's
not a case of a few bad apples spoiling the whole bunch.
Pedophilia is ripe throughout all levels of the Catholic
Church. And the amount of money the Catholic Church has had
to pay to the victims of pedophilia is so tremendous, it is
large enough to repair the damage created by
many natural disasters.
Other readers suggested we donate to the
Salvation Army. I think that's sort of a good idea. At least
it's much better than donating to the Red Cross. But the
Salvation Army has overhead... and... I believe they do not have
the skills and organizational ability to do what's needed to
That Leaves Me An Option
I Can't Believe I Would
Have Ever Endorsed!
In a few minutes I'm going to let you read
something one of my readers sent to me. This will
explain to you who... and... more importantly WHY... you should donate money to
in order to help victims of disaster.
But before I share that with you, I'd like
to tell you what I think (after a lot of prayer and thought)
really needs to be done to help these victims.
First, I think we should establish several
safe haven "tent cities". I think these tents should be
erected on wooden or cement platforms. Each of them should
contain a small air conditioning unit. I think all of the
tents should be supplied with cots, sleeping bags,
toothbrushes, toothpaste, hairbrushes and combs, and all
the other material things necessary to survive on an
extended "camping trip".
Think of it this way: Suppose you
are an "arm chair hunter" and you want to go on a luxurious
safari to Africa. Say you've hired a company to book this
trip and make all the arrangements for you. That would
include your living quarters while you were in the jungle hunting lions and
elephants and whatever other species of animals you felt
could be justifiably and unnecessarily slaughtered for your
momentary pleasure. The victims of Hurricane Katrina are
living in a jungle they didn't ask to be in.
In addition to the tents erected to provide
living quarters for the victims of this (or any) natural
disaster, there would be other tents set up to give medical
assistance. Just think of the way it was done in the popular
T.V. series "MASH" and you'll get the idea.
All of the power necessary to keep these
facilities functional would be supplied by gasoline or
I think we should erect these "cities" in
several locations across the United States... because...
these natural disasters are not going to stop coming. I
think we should prepare for them in advance. That's
something we don't do any more: We don't prepare for things in advance.
No. We just wait for something drastic to happen... and
then... we react to it like a bunch of chickens running
around with our heads cut off.
You'll notice I haven't addressed the
problem of evacuating people and getting immediate medical
supplies to those people who have epileptic fits, convulsions,
heart attacks, or who need dialysis to stay alive. I don't
think we, as civilians, can do this. This requires
helicopters, military people trained in search and rescue,
and others who possess skills which everyday civilians simply
The next five days particularly in New Orleans are going
to be worse than you could ever imagine. The people living
there (if you can call it "living") are actually existing in an
environment of what I choose to call "sewage soup". It's not
just water. It's water filled with urine, fecal matter,
dead bodies of humans, dead bodies of animals,
the by-product waste of petroleum materials, and so forth. And
other stuff I can't describe and I'm sure some stuff I don't even know about.
The truth is, no matter how compassionate
we are... what happens in the next five days or so is pretty
much out of our hands.
But let's use what's happened as a catalyst to
help the victims of other hurricanes and
other natural disasters you know we're going to experience in
the immediate future. We've got to prepare for these
disasters ahead of time.
You know, the idea of living in a tent city
sort of sucks, doesn't it? But it's a hell of a lot better
than wandering around homeless in a city full of "sewage
soup" desperately looking for fresh drinking water and food.
Can you imagine how good it would feel to tens of thousands
of those victims just to be able to brush their
teeth? Or take a shower? Or to sleep in a clean and snug sleeping bag
To have enough food and water to satisfy the needs of
themselves and their family? To have a place 100 yards away
where they could get medical attention?
Like I said earlier, one of my readers made a suggestion of an
organization who could handle this situation better than
any other organization I know of. It's important for you to
know I am NOT a member of their organization. Matter of
fact, I've made a lot of jokes at their expense. But
I will say this, every member I've
ever met has been ethical, trustworthy, skillful,
hard-working, honest, and generous.
What I'm going to do is sign off now. I'm
going to let my assistant, Theresa put into this newsletter
word for word what was sent to me. I urge you to keep an open mind.
I Think They Are The Absolute Best
We've Got To Handle The Crisis At Hand!
I am going to be traveling out of the
country for the next few days. It will be a very short trip.
As soon as I return, I'll start writing more newsletters.
Before I leave, I am instructing Theresa to
post on my website some of the
thoughtful, intelligent and insightful feedback I received from
my readers. It's going to give you a lot to
reflect on. I hope it disabuses you of the idea we can solve
problems... just by... mindlessly throwing money at those
Something else I want to say. Yesterday's
newsletter and this one are both somewhat sloppy. Usually
when I write a newsletter, it goes through several drafts
and I tighten it up until it is a very "together" message.
These past two newsletters are not as together as I would
like them to be. But the truth is, neither am I. I'm not
really "together" at all any more. If I do have a few
moments of lucidity during the day, all I have to do is turn on CNN
for a few minutes and my capacity for clear-headed thinking
Everybody is saying we need to come together
in this country. That's certainly true. But we need to come
Ah hell. I hate this. It seems to me I'm
getting a little incoherent. So I'll stop writing now and
let Theresa take over from here.
reason for writing is to address the your
newsletter regarding disaster relief. You
asked, "What should we do? How can we help
these people?" And then you said, "The
truth is, I don't know."
would like to make a recommendation.
I want to say that I appreciate you for what
you're doing now and for all of the efforts
you have made in the past to put together
disaster relief funds.
personal level, I subscribed to your
newsletter because of your marketing
genius. But the main reason I stay
subscribed is because I know that you are a
big-hearted, genuinely compassionate, very
cool and funny guy. I want you to know
upfront that this email is long for the sake
of these desperate and needy people and
because I want to give your noble &
loving intentions the time and attention it
the way...I'm a chic. So if any of this
sounds a little touch-feely, you'll know
why. Ok, down to business.
for my recommendation. Regardless of
whether you agree with their
religious beliefs or not, it is my belief
(through the extensive research I have done
regarding disaster relief) that the
organization of Jehovah's Witnesses is going
to be your best choice when the primary
concern is maximizing the use of funds in
the most beneficial way for victims. Here's
are the most non-profit of non-profit
organizations I've ever seen. All of their
workers are voluntary. *All* of them. From
the top down, the way the entity
is structured, even the executives of
the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in
Brooklyn, NY (headquarters of their
worldwide organization) donate their time in
exchange for very modest room and board.
I've toured a few of their facilities in the
Brooklyn, Wallkill and Patterson, NJ areas.
I've seen it with my own eyes.
who works at their printing facilities
(where they print bibles and bible
literature for their worldwide bible
education work) works for room and board and
they get a very small allowance (somewhere
around $120/mo.) for personal items. This
entire organization is supported by means of
voluntary donations. And it's
amazing......I mean, these people are not
driving around in fancy cars and getting
rich pocketing donations by any means.
spend their money on maintaining their
printing facilities, printing bible
literature, housing & feeding their
voluntary workers (who all live in an
apartment-like community maintained by the
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society),
supporting voluntary missionaries around the
world, language and reading programs (where
they teach illiterate people to read),
DISASTER RELIEF....I could go on.
the bottom line is that NONE of their money
is used to line pockets of greedy execs.
And there's more than one way to donate to
this organization. You can just give a
general donation to their "Worldwide" fund,
or you can choose to dictate exactly where
you want 100% of your money to be used,
i.e., "Hurricane Katrina".
big reason this is the best organization to
donate money to is because they are so
organized it's uncanny. I was reading an
impressive article in a magazine about
Jehovah's Witnesses and disaster relief for
Hurricane Andrew. Check this out.
Hurricane Andrew hit, the Governing Body of
Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn, New York,
reacted at once and appointed a relief
committee to function out of the Fort
Lauderdale Assembly Hall. They also assigned
a considerable sum of money for the purchase
of materials, food, and emergency items. As
a consequence, Jehovah's Witnesses were
among the first to react to the situation
and began calling for volunteers. In fact,
many came without even being called.
Witness workers turned up from California,
North Carolina, Oregon, Washington State,
Pennsylvania, Missouri, and many other
places. A Virginia Regional Building
Committee that usually builds Kingdom Halls
(the places where they meet for
worship) sent a group of 18 Witnesses to
repair roofs. It took them 18 hours to
drive down. Relief workers took vacation
time or leaves of absence from their jobs
and drove across the country, hundreds and
even thousands of miles, to reach their
fellow Witnesses in distress.
There was a group that came from the
Charleston area in South Carolina. They had
experience with Hurricane Hugo back in 1989.
They knew what to expect and soon organized
relief supplies, including electric
generators and building materials. Within
two weeks volunteer crews had dried out some
800 homes and had repaired many roofs.
Even the media noted how well the Witnesses
were organized. The Savannah Evening Press
carried the headline “Jehovah’s Witnesses
Find They Are Welcome in South Florida,” and
The Miami Herald declared: “Witnesses Care
for Their Own—and Others.”
It stated: “No one in Homestead is slamming
doors on the Jehovah’s Witnesses this
week—even if they still have doors to slam.
About 3,000 Witness volunteers from across
the country have converged on the disaster
area, first to help their own, then to help
others. . . . Any military organization
might envy the Witnesses’ precision,
discipline and efficiency.” In contrast, an
Air Force officer was quoted as saying about
the relief effort in another area: “All the
chiefs just want to be chiefs, but nobody
wants to get down and actually do the dirty
Jehovah's Witnesses have organized hundreds
of Regional Building Committees all over the
world to construct Kingdom Halls and large
Assembly Halls. Thus, they have trained
manpower ready to respond on a few hours’
During Hurricane Andrew, the Anheuser Busch
company donated a truckload of drinking
water. On arriving, the driver asked
officials where he should deliver the water.
He was told that the only ones who had
something organized were Jehovah's
Witnesses. In fact, within a week after
Andrew struck, some 70 tractor-trailer loads
of supplies had arrived at the Fort
Lauderdale Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s
A volunteer there reported (I'm quoting from
the magazine here): “So we received a whole
truckload of drinking water. We immediately
included this among the other foodstuffs
that we were sending to the distribution
centers at the Kingdom Halls. It was shared
with the brothers and with the neighbors in
that area who were in need.”
In the beginning, city authorities were
sending non-Witness volunteers to the
Kingdom Halls, saying, ‘They are the only
ones who are properly organized.’ Eventually
the military moved in and began to set up
food and water relief centers and tent
The original Witness staging area was set up
by the relief committee at the Fort
Lauderdale Assembly Hall, which is some 40
miles north of the main disaster zone around
Homestead. To relieve some of the pressure,
a primary staging area was established at
the Plant City Assembly Hall near Orlando,
about 250 miles northwest of the disaster
zone. Most relief materials were channeled
there for sorting and packing. The committee
ordered its needs from Plant City on a daily
basis, and huge tractor-trailers were used
to cover the five-hour drive down to Fort
In turn this staging station supplied food,
materials, water, generators, and other
needs to three Kingdom Halls that had been
repaired in the center of the disaster area.
There, capable Witnesses organized building
and clean-up crews to visit the hundreds of
homes that needed attention. Kitchens and
feeding lines were also opened on the
Kingdom Hall grounds, and anybody
was welcome to come for aid.
Even some of the soldiers enjoyed a meal and
were later observed dropping donations into
the contribution boxes.
For many of the homeless, alternative
accommodations were found in the homes of
Witnesses untouched by Andrew. Others stayed
in trailers lent or donated for that
purpose. After Hurricane Andrew, the
superbly-organized relief program of the
Witnesses was so well-known that some
business establishments and individuals who
were not Witnesses and who wanted to make
significant donations of relief supplies
turned these over to the Witnesses.
According to the article, these folks knew
that their gift would not be simply left in
a stockpile, nor would it be used for
profit, but it would truly benefit the
hurricane victims, both Witnesses and
In the research I have done, the disaster
relief efforts organized by Jehovah's
Witnesses are too many to mention.
Again, their honesty, use of donated funds
and organizational abilities are
They have two official web sites.....
Look into this organization for yourself
and see how they measure up to others for
disaster relief. Like you, I also care
deeply for all the people who are suffering
from this hurricane and I have already
donated funds to be dispensed by Jehovah's
Perhaps when you call them you might want
to ask how Jehovah's Witnesses are already
administering relief aid to Hurricane
Katrina victims. This could ultimately help
you in your decision-making process.
And even if you don't end up using this
organization to distribute your relief
funds, I hope that you have at least found
this information helpful and can see that I
truly care and appreciate what you are
doing. I want you to know that my prayers
are with you and your efforts to raise
I wish you the most successful
money-raising campaign EVER and I absolutely
KNOW you will pull it off. You are an
*amazing* individual....I know because I
read your Boron Letters. Need I say more?
God Bless Us All,
Gary C. Halbert