Random Acts of Kindness

Diana Cantello, a Gramercy, Louisiana resident whose home was not damaged by Hurricane Katrina, performed a random act of kindness when she picked up Dmitri Kachkov and his family from the truck stop where they were staying as refugees from the storm. In addition to simply housing the family, Cantello helped Kachkov's mother celebrate her 69th birthday by baking her a cake and giving her small presents. "My mother never expected such kindness, especially during this disaster," Kachkov told Reuters.

Returning the Favor

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that his city is all too familiar with living through a crisis. Accordingly, New York City firefighters and policemen are being dispatched to New Orleans to lend their expertise and support to a part of the country that supported New York four years ago in their hour of need.

Schilling Pitches In

Curt Schilling, the Red Sox star pitcher, has volunteered to house a family of 9 for one year. At first arranging anonymously for the Fields family, who lost their home in New Orleans during Katrina, to travel to Boston, Schilling and his wife met up with the family in Atlanta. "When we realized how many people had nowhere to go, we didn't just want to make a donation," Shonda Schilling told The Boston Globe. "We decided we wanted to bring an entire family here and put them up."

Lift Every Voice and Sing

As help finally began to arrive in New Orleans over the weekend, the weight of the trauma began to set in for many evacuees at the Convention Center. But city resident Anita Roach, instead of joining in the weeping, stood among the others and began to lead them in gospel songs of praise and gratitude. The New Orleans Times-Picayune described her as "a beacon of beauty and strength against a backdrop of death and despair."

A Boy and His Dog

Stories like this one, about a young boy whose dog Snowball was ripped from his arms as he boarded a bus to safety, have captured the attention of animal lovers and advocates nationwide. A website has been established, KatrinaFoundPets.com, in the ongoing search for Snowball. The site also hopes to reunite survivors with pets collected by police, and to match pets with foster "parents" in the wake of the storm.

Organizing the Good Will

Many websites, including craigslist.org and others, have provided venues for people of good will to offer to house those displaced by the storm. A new website, KatrinaHome.com is attempting to streamline these offers into one place. With over 500 homes offering space to over 2,100 people so far, the website also provides tips for refugees on how to safely choose a place to stay, and for hosts on safely welcoming refugees into their homes.

Praying Under the Trees

St. Clare Parish in Waveland, MS will be holding Mass this Sunday, but not in the parish building, which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Instead, reports Catholics for Faithful Citizenship, the congregation will gather under the trees for religious services. The organization is providing an online resource for Catholics affected by the storm to find each other, share resources, and worship.

Defraying the Costs

Among the many costs of Hurricane Katrina is the inability of many families to make timely bill payments while struggling to rebuild their lives. Accordingly, Ford Motor Credit Company is offering up to two payment deferrals for storm-affected customers who have financed vehicles with Ford. Additionally, Fannie Mae is offering a mortgage relief program for those who are facing hardship because of the storm.