Port Orange, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/6/2005 -- With the last of the Thanksgiving turkey leftovers gone, thoughts here at DigitalRainmakers turn to the coming Christmas season. I ask myself what this time of year means -- especially this year, when so many disastrous events have taken their toll both here in our own backyard and across the globe. In this season of giving, we drop our spare change into Salvation Army kettles, we pick a name or two off of the Joshua Tree, we buy extra food for the Food Pantry at our local grocery stores.
As giving as these actions are, I can't help but think to myself 'How will this help people next week, next month, six months down the road?' I find myself wanting to do something that will make a difference for someone in the long term as well as the short term, and the plight of the hurricane Katrina victims immediately springs to mind.
Why hurricane Katrina victims and not, say, the mudslide victims out in California or the tsunami victims across the ocean?
Let me take you back a year and some change to September 4, 2004. My husband, my sons, my mother and myself were at home in our Port Orange apartment. It was late Sunday morning and we were weathering hurricane Frances. We had already been through hurricane Charlie with no ill effects and planned to do the same through Frances.
That morning our ceiling started leaking -- through the air vents, light sockets, you name it. We were using plastic drawer bins to collect water and were emptying them every few minutes. I'm not talking drips. We had water streaming from our ceiling. My husband and I were in the back bathroom emptying yet another drawer full of water when we heard a crash and my mother and oldest son yelling in the living room. We came running out to see my mother in the corner, covering my son, and our living room ceiling sitting in pieces on our living room floor. It was one of those moments when your brain just stops working for a moment. Like my mind didn't want to process what my eyes were seeing.
We packed what we could fit inside two suitcases and drove to the nearest shelter, where we weathered out the rest of the hurricane. When we returned to our apartment the next day to see what we could salvage, all I could do was stare in shock. Except for the bathrooms, every ceiling in our apartment had collapsed. We had lost almost everything -- except each other.
It's been over a year since that day and we have, of course, rebuilt our lives -- but not without alot of help from family, friends and strangers alike. I know without a doubt that we would be where we are now had it not been for those people and everything they'd done for us.
That's why I want to do something to help at least some of the victims of hurricane Katrina. It's personal to me.
So, for the next twelve months, I want to donate -- one each month -- a full web design and hosting package to the owner of a small business that was directly damaged by hurricane Katrina. This offer is open to any small business that was licensed in one of the affected Gulf Coast cities at the time hurricane Katrina struck, provided that:
* the business does not promote hate or violence in any manner
* the business does not already have an existing web site
Preference will be given to small business owners most severly affected by hurricane Katrina and who have families to support.
To see if you qualify, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me about yourself, your business and your circumstances. If selected, you will receive either a Basic Web Design Package or a Small Business Web Design Package plus a full year's hosting.
I am looking forward to being able to help.
Owner and Lead Web Designer