in an e-mail from Kerr Cuhulain…
25 October 2007
23 fires have charred more than 460,000 acres in California this month. More than 1,400 homes have been destroyed and at least 3 people that we know of have died. At one point, almost 1 million people were under evacuation orders as several fires burned from the Mexican border to northern Los Angeles County. Governor Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency. Overnight Wednesday about 76,000 people were forced to stay in 42 shelters. The number of people involved is similar to the Katrina hurricane disaster which Avalon Cares, the disaster relief arm of Officers of Avalon, helped with back in September 2005.
Many people have written in the past expressing concerns about large NGOs that have large overhead costs that eat up much of the money sent in. Some have written to tell me that in the past, when they’ve tried to forward funds and goods from their organization’s fund raising efforts to Christian aid organizations, these things have been turned away as the recipients refused to accept anything from Pagans. This is especially frustrating in light of several churches and government officials recently claiming that Pagans don’t do anything for their communities.
Officers of Avalon is an organization made up of Pagan emergency services personnel that is incorporated in Nevada and has 501 (c) status. Avalon Cares is a relief fund created and run by our Chancellor General as part of our commitment to serve the community. Officer of Avalon’s operating costs are modest and entirely covered by the dues of our members. None of the Grand Preceptory (our board of directors) receive remuneration of any sort for the work that we do for Officers of Avalon. We’re all volunteers. 100% of the money collected by our Avalon Cares project is going to the relief effort. We are endeavoring to give the funds collected directly to those who need them.
As our members are Pagan professionals in the emergency services, we’ve had a lot of people on the ground in the affected areas from the start. I’m starting to get reports on what has been affected and where help might be needed. I encourage you to do the same. If you know any one who has needs as a result of this disaster, please write to us and let us know.
Avalon Cares provided tens of thousands of dollars to the Katrina relief effort. We were the first people into Prentiss, Mississippi with a convoy of relief supplies. It was Avalon Cares that paid for replacement uniforms to be shipped to the New Orleans police. We’ve helped with lots of other little projects since then. This is an opportunity for you to show the world what Pagans can do. Projects like this show the world what Pagans are really like.
Once again, we’re showing the world what Pagans can do. Yet we must stick with it. We need you all to continue to donate what you can. If you can’t donate money, donate your time to volunteer efforts. Do your own fund raising events to help us in this disaster relief effort. Open your doors to the displaced. Give blood. If you’re a Pagan in the emergency services or related fields, join us at Officers of Avalon and help us help Pagans.
Officers of Avalon
For more information about the Officers of Avalon organization, or the Avalon Cares charity…
Please, please give of your time and money to this organization. They not only seek to do good for those in need; in doing so they exemplify the values of the Pagan faiths in front of the world.
Thank you for your time,
Pax / Geoffrey Stewart