Amidon Column: Katrina, Dogs and Community

by Jim Amidon

September 7, 2005

When Chris, Samantha, and I took our "flood bucket" collection to the United Methodist Church last Thursday, we were amazed to see the large number of volunteers and equally impressive room full of donations to be taken to the victims of hurricane Katrina.

In Friday’s paper I saw that the First Christian Church is collecting donations for first aid and health buckets. Great idea! I hope all of you will join me in reaching out this way.

I’ve said it a thousand times and I will continue to believe it with all my heart: this community sees problems and reacts in ways that never cease to amaze me. Whether it’s our local agencies or far away disaster relief, the people of West Central Indiana know how to roll up their sleeves and help folks out in times of need.

As I chatted with my brother, who lives in North Florida and experienced the wrath of hurricane Dennis, we got to talking about the uncertain days that lie ahead. He used to work as a fund-raiser, so he knows the ins and outs of philanthropy and social service.

We both agreed that times will be tough for all of us in the coming months — not just those directly affected by Katrina. Anybody else have a $45 gas fill-up last week? (And my tank holds only 13 gallons!) Now think about the trickle down: it will cost Pace Dairy 30-40 percent more to take cheese to grocery stores; Nucor’s steel hauling costs could easily double; it won’t be long until we have another postage hike. And then there are insurance costs!

So we’re all going to have to pinch pennies and look for shortcuts for the foreseeable future.

And that’s what concerns me most.

Will we continue to donate to the Christian Nursing Service’s Well Baby Clinic, the Family Crisis Shelter, and FISH Food Pantry? Will we continue to dig deep in our pockets and make necessary sacrifices so that our churches and schools don’t suffer?

I have no doubt that this community will stand tall; that we’ll not only reach out to those suffering in the southern states, but we’ll look after each other, too.

Which is why in the face of the worst natural disaster this country has ever faced, we at Wabash are sticking to our plans and focusing our Community Day fund-raising efforts on a local agency.

This Saturday Wabash will once again host Community Day. We’ll serve free hot dogs, chips, and cookies on the College mall beginning at 11:30 and everyone is then invited to watch the Little Giant football team host Kalamazoo in our season-opening game. No admission will be charged.

But (you all know there is no such thing as a free lunch or football game) we are hoping you’ll make a donation to the Animal Welfare League, which runs our local animal shelter.

If you read this paper regularly, you know that the Animal Shelter is a bare-bones operation (no pun intended). They have in recent years been forced to shut down because of funding. The cages and kennels are full of cats and dogs. This is an agency in need of local support.

In past years we have raised money on Community Day for 9/11 relief and the FISH Food Pantry. This year we hope you’ll stop by one of the two tables that will be set up and manned by AWL staff to talk about the agency and lend some support.

If you don’t have the money, talk to them about volunteering. Cleaning kennels and walking dogs doesn’t sound like fun, but the AWL relies on local volunteers to sustain itself.

If you’re a pet lover, make a monetary donation or bring some toys for the pooches that are sheltered.

Please join us for Community Day this Saturday. We promise a good lunch and exciting football game, and of course you are more than welcome to tour the campus and meet our students, faculty, and alumni.

And remember that as things get tight in the coming months and our nation is forced to rebuild entire cities, our back yard philanthropic efforts must not cease.

Amidon is Director of Public Affairs and College Secretary. He writes this weekly column for the Crawfordsville Journal Review.


Wabash College • 301 W Wabash Ave • Crawfordsville, IN 47933 • 765.361.6100