Patti Abbott is taking a breather from the weekly Friday's "Forgotten" Books feature today. I thought I'd take this opportunity to remind everyone that recent disasters are making it even harder on many folks in this still-recovering economy:
- In Colorado, Utah, Montana and Arizona, tens of thousands of people have had to evacuate their homes and businesses, with hundreds of those building burned to the ground, at a cost of untold millions;
- Flooding in Montana has caused at least $100 million in damage that could take years to recover from in the 14 counties declared disaster areas;
- Tropical Storm Debby forced up to 20,000 people out of their homes in one Florida county alone, and several areas saw 26 inches of rain that led to massive flooding.
It's heartening to see that libraries have been playing a valuable role in helping evacuees, especially in Colorado: the Pikes Peak Library set up a laptop lab and books at the Red Cross Shelter in Cheyenne Mountain High School, Colorado Springs; and the Poudre River Public Library District set up an area in the Thomas M. McKee Community Center in Larimer County where kids can play with toys, read, watch cartoons and put puzzles together and people can also use laptops to contact family.
Even if you don't have family or friends in the affected areas, consider a contribution to the American Red Cross of either money or a blood donation, both of which are sorely needed.