I wish that someone would hop into a canoe, and paddle over to these well-meaning but ignorant people, and give them a few clues:
- New Orleans is under martial law right now. This is not the moment to attempt to incorporate a nonprofit agency, open a bank account, apply to the IRS for tax-exempt status, etc.
- Not even the American Red Cross, a well-established agency with trained personnel and steady funding, dares to offer a carte blanche such as "give us a call if you need anything" during a major disaster.
- If the reports I read are reliable, two of the many things that most people in New Orleans lack right now are phone service and transportation. They won't be able to call you, and you won't be able to deliver services to them.
Creating a disaster relief agency actually requires forethought.