Vera G. Davis, president of the Westside NAACP, held a press conference Sept. 5, 2005 on the steps of her church, Cary Tercentenary A.M.E. Church, located at 1448 S. Homan.

Like many clergy, business leaders, everyday folks and organizations, people on the West Side have been answering the clarion call to help the hurricane victims in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

The following are some of the comments from the press conference:

Vera Davis:

“We have all seem the suffering of our brothers and sisters. These are the impoverished people who did not have the financial resources to evacuate the city. They are survivors and not refugees. They are homeless, hungry, elderly, sick and young children. They have been too long without the bare necessities of life which are water, food, clothing, shelter and medical care. Many have died because these items have been slow in coming. They have been without water to drink or bathe in, food for nourishment, clean clothing, medicine or treatment for the illnesses that plague poor people, such as hypertension, diabetes and kidney failure.

“This coalition wants to assist in meeting the needs of these courageous survivors. We know that after taking care of their immediate needs of food, clothing and shelter, there are other needs that must be addressed. We understand this and will continue to assist these individuals as long as necessary.

“The Chicago Westside Branch is requesting donations of diapers and baby wipes. The north district of the AME church is requesting donations of underwear and socks. All donations can be dropped off at:

Carey Tercentenary AME Church, William Townsend, pastor, 1448 S. Homan;

New Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church, Rev. Hatch, pastor, 4301 W. Washington Blvd.;

African Accents, Malcolm & Stacia Crawford, proprietors, 5847 W. Chicago Ave.;

Old St. Paul Baptist Church, Rev. Paul Jakes, pastor, 531 N. Kedzie and;

Chicago Westside Branch NAACP, 1140 N. Lamon.

“If a person or organization wishes to donate money, they can send their money to NAACP, 1140 N. Lamon, Chicago 60651. In the memo section, please earmark the funds as ‘Disaster Relief Funds.’

“The local NAACP branches have relief centers set up for distribution in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. They will make certain that the funds are used to benefit those persons in need and not be put in a general fund to be used at the discretion of the directors. These monies will go to the survivors and to those persons who have opened their homes to them. If you wish to have your funds sent directly to Mississippi, please make your checks out to The Town of Bolton Development Corp., P.O. Box 300, Bolton, Miss. 39041. This is a 501c3 organization and your donations are deductible.”

“For further information please call the Chicago Westside Branch NAACP at 773/261-5890.”

Cook County Commissioner Bobbie Steele (2nd Dist.): “As president Davis has said, these are not refugees. These are American citizens who have encountered a disastrous experience, and we’re here to help them. This is in the spirit of caring and sharing. We’re not waiting on the federal government. They should do more and move to action quicker, but the community is saying we’re going to do what we can to help our fellow man down in that part of the country. Whatever you can do to help please do so.”

Rev. William L. Townsend, Jr. pastor of Cary Tercentenary: “We’re not asking the government to do anything for us. We have, as black people, a history of coming together and helping each other. We are an extended family. When one is hurting, we all hurt. It is my plead and my prayer that the other churches of the community, as well as this church, band together and do whatever is necessary because God loves a cheerful giver.”