As I'm writing this, the mess in New Orleans is only just beginning to get sorted out. Parts of the city still have no electricity or drinkable water. Ray Nagin, New Orleans' mayor, is struggling to get things back to normal in a city that won't see anything near normal for months.
Across the entire area affected by Katrina, not just New Orleans, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced, tens of thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed and an unknown number of lives lost. And jobs? According to a Sept. 8 Associated Press story, more than 10,000 workers who lost their jobs because of Katrina have applied for unemployment benefits.
We at Quality Digest believe that it's part of our corporate responsibility to do what we can to help. We hope you feel the same. Some of those people affected are our readers. Some of them are your friends or associates.
In order to provide some help to those affected by Katrina, Quality Digest is setting aside editorial space in the magazine for free help wanted and jobs wanted listings related specifically to Katrina survivors. We're starting in this issue, with a special "Employment Board" posting on page 38. If you, or anyone you know, lost a job as a result of Katrina, send us your information and it will appear in the magazine and on our Web site. If your company has positions to fill and would like to help Katrina victims who no longer have a place to work, we'll take those, too. Our Katrina relief contact information is shown at the bottom of this column. Refer to page 38 for the specific information required for your posting.
I realize that this action doesn't amount to a whole lot, really. This isn't false humility; it's just the truth. We're a privately owned company with small resources and a relatively small reach, particularly into the affected states.
That realization was enough to make me think, "Why bother? It's not like our efforts are going to have any effect." And then I remembered a conversation I had with a friend following the tsunami in Southeast Asia. An older woman on a pension, she was upset because all she was able to do was send some used clothing. She wanted to do more, but couldn't. I told her she was setting an example (particularly for me), and that if a million people followed her example and gave what they could, no matter how small, it would make a huge difference.
So maybe that's what all this is about--encouragement. We all do a little, whether it's posting free ads in a magazine or hiring an out-of-work janitor, and we encourage others to do the same.
Following is the contact information for jobs wanted and help wanted. Please fax, e-mail or mail your requests to:
P.O. Box 1769
Chico, CA 95927-1769
Fax: (530) 893-0395