By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Dang, some good news:Buzz, ever the one to point out the dark cloud amid the silver lining, was going to tell you about some of the sad, stupid things we've heard from certain people--dimwitted white people--about the evacuees from New Orleans. See, there was the article someone sent us blaming "the welfare state" for creating the post-Katrina chaos in the Big Easy. We heard the word "thugs" used and learned of the threat of the "urban," that euphemism for a much nastier word. There was even the anecdote one Dallas Observer staffer told us about a server at a restaurant who saw a table full of black women and assumed they were evacuees. Told they weren't, he said that was too bad, because he was going to offer to take them home.
Hurricane Katrina, the latest in bad pickup lines.
We were going to talk about that, but then we called the amazingly upbeat Colleen T. Hager, director of communications and marketing for the North Texas Food Bank. Buzz the pessimist wanted to know whether her agency is worried that once the initial outpouring of giving peters out, people will suffer charity fatigue and giving will slacken.
No, not really.
First off, she said, the post-Katrina effort isn't going to suffer from a lack of attention anytime soon. "The Katrina effort's going to go on for months...this isn't a short story," Hager said.
Still, demand for the food bank's services locally was already up 57 percent since 9/11, and the Katrina evacuees add another huge layer to that. But try as we might, we couldn't panic Hager about that.
"We're peddling fast, but the community is responding," said Hager, who likened their work to a hamster spinning a wheel. They're just running faster--and somehow keeping pace.
And then she really put some sunshine on our gloomy parade.
"I also believe from what I've seen in the past week that North Texas is amazingly generous," she said. "I believe that heart is still going to be there...because nothing has ever quite happened like this in America."
So you know what? Forget the stupid anti-urban people. And if you want to help the food bank, check out their Web site at www.ntxfoodbank.org for info on how to do it. Oh, and if you want to volunteer (good for you), let them know in advance, so they can make the best use of your valuable time. --Patrick Williams