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Massage Today
November, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 11

Hurricane Relief Efforts Reach Gulf Region

By Editorial Staff

It's been about two months since Hurricane Katrina ripped through Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, leaving nothing but devastation in its wake. Right on the heels of this Category 5 monster came Katrina's evil twin, Hurricane Rita.

Just when this region could take no more, Rita put Texas in its sites and re-flooded areas in the Gulf Coast that had just become dry.

As with previous national disasters, the massage community came together to offer its resources, its time and its finances to help those most affected rebuild. The heartbreaking stories of loss came pouring from the region and the massage community answered quickly with a variety of fundraisers, Web sites and volunteers who headed into the region to help victims and rescue workers.

Massage Today created a Web page solely designed for massage practitioners who want to take in a displaced massage therapist and/or help them find temporary massage work. To post a message, visit http://displacedtherapists.massagetoday.com.

The Carolina Emergency Response Massage Team (CERMT) and Emergency Response Massage International (ERMI) went to Gulfport, Miss. and will be rotating teams in on a weekly basis until December. If any therapist is interested in helping with the Katrina massage relief effort, contact Doug E. Rasmusson, LBMT, at or (828) 215-9195.

The Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals has developed a comprehensive section of its Web site devoted to information and volunteer opportunities related to both recent hurricanes. Links are provided with information about Hurricane Katrina and the continuing efforts in the Gulf coast, Hurricane Rita and the efforts in Texas, various fundraisers around the country, the spa community's efforts, healing touch for animals affected by these disasters as well as information about how to reach the Red Cross. For more information about these opportunities, visit www.abmp.com/home/katrinaopportunities.html.

At its national convention in Albuquerque, N.M. in September 2005, the American Massage Therapy Association developed a Hurricane Katrina Massage Therapist Relief Plan. At the convention, members donated more than $3,000 as an initial contribution through the New Mexico chapter toward a national plan to help offset national dues and chapter fees for members in the affected areas. AMTA National will match the funds raised through this chapter program up to $50,000. AMTA also is coordinating a Practitioner Member Rebuilding Kit that includes basic equipment and supplies to help members whose practices were destroyed. AMTA also is offering free resume postings for members and nonmembers. If you have an opening for a massage therapist or you are a member from the affected area, you can post your information at www.amtamassage.org/AMTA-CareerCenter/.

SpaFinder.com also created a Web site to help those seeking, as well as those offering help. People from New York to California and everywhere in between posted offers of jobs, houses and relocation help to those looking to pick up the pieces. If you are interested in posting to this site, visit www.spas-helping-spas.com.

The Gulf Coast region will need help for months to come as they clean up the mess left behind by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. If you want to lend a helping hand, check these sites, as well as others such as the Red Cross, FEMA and the Salvation Army, to see if there is something you can do to help those in these devastated areas.

 

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