September 7, 2005 - From students to council members, civic leaders to area business owners, the residents of the Northwest and Foothills showed they are willing to leap to attention and help in any way they can to provide relief to those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Last week, fund-raising projects, from coin collecting to benefit concerts, were hurriedly organized to begin to meet what will be long-term demands for money and supplies in the Gulf region.

Although the list of projects continues to grow each day, the EXPLORER has compiled a list of some of the ways Northwest and Foothills residents can help.

The town of Oro Valley is coordinating a concert that will bring people together to donate to the American Red Cross.

Band Together for Hurricane Katrina Relief is scheduled for 4 to 8 p.m. Sept. 11 at Tucson Electric Park, 2500 E. Ajo Way.

The idea for the concert came from Amanda Jacobs, an Oro Valley town office specialist who works for the town council and the town manager. In trying to figure out how the town could help with the hurricane relief effort, she thought of a concert, and other town staff members decided to make it happen.

The event is free, but all attendees are being asked to bring with them donations to give to the American Red Cross representatives who will be at the event.

Bob Kovitz, Oro Valley's government and community relations administrator, is helping to organize the event and is looking for area orchestras and bands that want to participate.

He said that the event will not be a "battle of the bands" and that organizers are not looking for rock or country groups but rather for school orchestras, marching bands, ensembles, jazz groups and choirs.

KIIM-FM radio has partnered with the town, as has Pima County and the owners of Tucson Electric Park.

"The organizing for this event is a moving train right now. We're up against a holiday weekend and a short work week to pull it all together," Kovitz stated in a prepared statement announcing the concert. "However, I know the generosity of Tucson area residents, and I'm certain that they'll take this concert and show our friends in New Orleans and southern Mississippi that we care."

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Tucson could welcome up to 1,000 refugees to the area, and though many of the refugees will stay, at least temporarily, at the Tucson Convention Center, some area families are being asked to consider opening their homes.

The office of Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup is organizing the housing of displaced people. For information about how to become involved in that effort, call 791-5395.

Former Marana Mayor Bobby Sutton Jr., 35, grew up on the west bank of New Orleans, where several of his close relatives still live.

Sutton said he's offered to open up his home to any relatives who might need a place to stay, even if that means putting up 10 cots. But right now, he said, it's hard for any of them to think about that.

"They don't know what they have left. They feel like everything they have is lost and do they start over? Talking to them, it's real tough and I'm trying to be strong for them," he said. "I think the best thing to do right now is contact the Red Cross. I think money is what they need down there most. Every little bit is going to help in this situation."

Throughout the Northwest and Foothills, students and teachers also have been organizing efforts to collect a variety of supplies, as well as money, for the people affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The students at Ironwood Ridge High School held a bottled water drive last week and plan to collect water during each home football game throughout the season.

The first shipment of the water is being delivered to World Care, a Tucson-based relief organization, but the subsequent shipments will be made in cooperation with the Salvation Army, which plans to provide long-term aid as the people in the Gulf work toward recovering from the storm.

Water can be dropped off at the front office of the high school, 2475 W. Naranja Drive, or it can be brought to the Ironwood Ridge stadium gates, where is will be collected.

Band Director Mark Hodge, who is helping with the Ironwood Ridge relief effort, said the school is trying to stick to water because it knows it is needed and, if people would like to make cash donations, he would prefer they send the checks directly to the American Red Cross or other officially recognized organizations.

Hodge said that as he watched the news of Katrina's devastation unfold on television last week he knew he wanted to do something to help.

"It's stark. To see people speaking your language and saying, 'Help us, please, nobody is helping us.' It's pretty crazy," Hodge said. "We had to do something because just sitting here is un-American."

Hodge has been telling his students that the only difference between them and the young people shown on news reel and in photos of this disaster is that "they are in New Orleans and you are here."

Ironwood Ridge is not the only school trying to help with hurricane relief.

* Mary Swiderski, a Canyon Del Oro High School counselor, is leading the LINK Crew, a mentorship program at the high school, in collecting money to contribute to the relief effort.

"They can bring in any kind of money, from pennies to dollars, or whatever. It will all help," Swiderski said. Students can bring the money to any of their teachers or to the counseling office at CDO, and the school will forward it all to a relief organization. Canyon Del Oro High School is at 25 W. Calle Concordia in Oro Valley. For more information, call 696-5560.

* Members of Mountain View High School's student council and the school's LINK Crew are planning to partner with nearby schools in the Marana Unified School District to start a cash donation and coin drive, Principal Jill Atlas said. Checks can be made out to the Mountain View student council or LINK Crew. For more information, call the school at 579-4400.

* Ironwood Elementary School, in the Marana Unified School District, has initiated a fund-raising effort titled "Hurricane Heroes," according to Principal Jennifer Vernich. All of the classes there are discussing the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and deciding what they want the money they collect to be used for. The classes will collect donation money through Sept. 15. The money raised in all of the classes will collectively be given to one organization that is assisting in the relief effort.

* According to Marana High School Principal Jim Doty, many of the school's clubs are coordinating with the student council on Katrina relief efforts. The Key Club will give out Mardi Gras beads for $1 donations. Students also will be asked to fill a 10-gallon water bottle in the commons area with donations during lunch. Drama students and the ERASE (Erase Racism and Sexism Everywhere) organization are collecting nonperishable food items and toiletries. The Teenage Parent Program students are collecting baby necessities. Teachers have been donating supplies through World Care.

Doty said many of the school's students and teachers know someone who has been affected by the disaster.

* Jane D'Amore, principal at Marana's Tortolita Middle School, said students in the school's reading enrichment classes will be raising money Sept. 6 through 14 to donate to the American Red Cross. Students and teachers at the school also will be cooperating with Mountain View High School to coordinate a canned food drive. All that is collected will be given to World Care.

* At Coyote Trails Elementary School, monetary donations are being accepted through two avenues, according to Principal Dan Johnson. A third grade class is collecting change and the student council is also collecting money, which will be donated either to the American Red Cross, World Care or the Salvation Army. The student council also began collecting nonperishable items such as soap, toothbrushes and clothing items this week.

* Gayle Schmidt, principal of Marana's Butterfield Elementary School, said the school's students and teachers will be collecting school supplies for the Houston Independent School District. The decision was reached after one of the sixth grade teachers found out that many New Orleans children who have been moved from their homes will be attending school there. Each teacher was given a list of needed school supplies to share with students.

* Students at Canyon View Elementary School, 5725 N. Sabino Canyon Road, in the Catalina Foothills School District, are collecting nonperishable foods for hurricane survivors. Catalina Foothills High School, 4300 E. Sunrise Drive, is organizing a drive for much-needed toiletries. School officials said they have plans to organize a districtwide relief effort soon. For information, call 299-6446.

How to avoid Katrina scams:

Although most people collecting money or supplies for relief efforts have intentions of helping, some are looking to gain personally from Hurricane Katrina. The Pima County Sheriff's Department provided tips to keep those seeking to be charitable from being taken by crooks:

Watch out for fake charities. E-mail has made it easier for scammers to set up fake charities. E-mail messages and the Web sites they link to may look legitimate, but use caution because they may not be. The sheriff's department advises people to never give payment information to anyone who calls or sends an e-mail message claiming to be from a charity. Instead, research the charity through the Better Business Bureau. If everything checks out, it's OK to contribute to that charity.

Beware of identity theft. All it takes to become a victim of identity theft is leaking personal information to a thief. Over the Internet, scammers may send phony e-mail messages that request personal information to "protect" accounts or transactions. Some even pretend to be law enforcement or government agencies.

Protect yourself. Donate only to charities you know. Do not respond to telephone solicitations. Instead, ask for an 800 number and call back. Do not give out your checking account number or credit card number to anyone who calls you. Instead, call back so you can confirm the legitimacy of the charity.

Other ways you can help:

People can send help to the survivors of Hurricane Katrina in many ways, through both regional and national organizations. These are some organizations that are collecting supplies and money to aid relief efforts:

World Care, a Tucson-based nonprofit relief organization run by Oro Valley resident Lisa Hopper, is collecting a variety of basic necessities to deliver to survivors.

* Basic first aid: adhesive bandages of assorted sizes, adhesive cloth tape, antibiotic ointment and creams, antiseptic soap and wipe packets, alcohol preps, aspirin and non-aspirin pain medication, non-latex sterile gloves in sizes medium and large, three-inch roller bandages, sterile gauze pads in two-inch, three-inch and four-inch squares, medical wound glue, liquid adhesive (New Skin), vitamins, diarrhea and stomach remedies, antihistamines, anti-fungal creams and stool softeners.

* Hygiene supplies: toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, combs, antibacterial soaps, waterless soaps, feminine products, baby diapers and wipes.

* Emergency supplies: blankets, work gloves, duct tape, packing tape, boxes, and can openers.

* Food, water, ready-to-eat meals, tarps.

* Pet supplies: dry food for cats and dogs, kitty litter, used or new leashes, collars, carriers.

Clothing has not been requested at this time.

Supplies can be dropped off at World Care, 320 South Wilmot Road; Sleep America,10515 N. Oracle Road; State Farm Insurance, 9000 N. Oracle Road; and Printing Plus, 3830 N. Oracle Road.

Call the World Care warehouse at 514-1588 for the latest updates on needed supplies.

The Southern Arizona Chapter of the American Red Cross is accepting monetary donations. Visit, call 318-6740, or mail donations to American Red Cross Southern Arizona Chapter, 4601 E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85711. The Red Cross also is deploying previously trained disaster volunteers and is also looking for physicians, RNs, LPNs, LVNs, and PAs licensed in the state of Arizona who can become members of its Disaster Health Services response teams. For more information on becoming trained to join one these teams, call the 318-6740.

United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona has set up a fund to collect money for Katrina survivors. Visit or call 1-800-272-4630 to make monetary contributions using a credit card to the United Way's Hurricane Katrina Response Fund.

Donations also can be made via check and sent to United Way of America, PO Box 630568, Baltimore, MD, 21263-0568. Checks should be made payable to UWA and reference "Hurricane Katrina Response Fund" in the memo.

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona is accepting cash donations to help the animals that have been displaced or were separated from their owners during the hurricane. Call 321-3704, ext. 120 or 164, visit, or send a check referencing "Katrina Animal Relief Fund" to the organization at 3450 N. Kelvin Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85716.

The Community Food Bank will forward all donations it receives for Katrina survivors to America's Second Harvest. Call 622-0525, ext. 234, visit, or drop off donations at one of several food bank branches throughout Pima County.

If your organization is doing something not listed, send us an e-mail to

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