Communities get creative with relief | AspenTimes.com

Communities get creative with relief

Catherine Lutz

Evacuees from the Gulf Coast in the Roaring Fork Valley now have a local help line to call.Meanwhile, local relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina victims became more centralized after a joint city and county meeting to coordinate resources Tuesday, and the total funds raised during Aspen’s Fat Tuesday at local eateries will be announced today.The Aspen Valley Medical Foundation has provided a phone number, 544-5545, that evacuees can call to get information on resources for local assistance. It’s called Roaring Fork Valley Information and Assistance, or VIA. The number also serves as a way for local government to keep track of how it’s helping.”We want to encourage [people who’ve relocated] to make contact with this number,” said Nan Sundeen, Pitkin County community relations director. “It will help us stay in contact with them, and if they have ideas on how to help, that would help us.”Sundeen estimates there are currently eight to 10 evacuees now living in the Aspen-to-Basalt area.About 60 people attended the Tuesday meeting, which the city of Aspen and Pitkin County hosted. It was decided that two local volunteer coordinators will gather supplies, goods and clothing to send to the Gulf region. They are Geneva Templeton, who can be reached at 309-0699, and Rockei Deliciadeguerra, at 922-7011. Linda Gerdenich at the city of Aspen will continue to serve as the point person for local resources to aid the relief efforts.Local governments also want to “adopt” a region, much like Carbondale did with a town in Mississippi, in order to create a comprehensive package of help that could include schools, hospitals and businesses. Pitkin County Manager Hilary Smith is working with the town managers from Aspen, Basalt, Snowmass Village and Carbondale to identify a region, but that is a long-term goal, Sundeen said.Some of the other ongoing relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina victims during Aspen Hurricane Relief Week follow: Carbondale officials are hosting a community meeting at 7 tonight at the Carbondale firehouse to discuss hurricane relief assistance to Pearlington, Miss., a hard-hit Gulf Coast town that Carbondale has “adopted.” Carbondale Fire Chief Ron Leach will update the situation in Pearlington, and discussion topics will include the community’s role in assisting this area. Public input is being sought on collecting needed items and financing this help. Financial sponsors are needed.The Carbondale firehouse is located at 300 Meadowood Drive. Donations to this effort can be sent to the Carbondale Fire Department or dropped off at Carbondale Town Hall or Alpine Bank. Checks should be made out to the Carbondale Katrina Relief Fund. Fin’s Grille in Glenwood Springs is having a benefit buffet from 5 to 9:30 tonight, with proceeds going to the American Red Cross. The buffet marks the end of a silent auction, whose items are on display at the restaurant, which is located at 710 Grand Ave. and can be reached at 945-4771. El Jebowl in El Jebel is hosting a Hurricane Katrina relief benefit from 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 24. A $5 minimum donation will be collected at the door (children under 12 are free) for one free bowling game, and live music featuring Wanda and the Decades. Donations will be sent to the Red Cross and the Coast Guard.Information on relief opportunities can be sent to Catherine at cathlutz@aspentimes.com, 925-9156 (fax) or 925-3414, ext. 234.