5. The leading parcel delivery services, at this point, are not giving discounts to folks who want to send packages to the victims or aid groups directly. This may change after the labor day weekend when the corporate types have had time to consider how to help. Call the toll free numbers of the companies, and ask if they can give you a break.
6. Underwear, even designer underwear, bought in packages is cheaper than underwear bought by the piece.
7. I am donating clothing directly because I think it will get help to people quicker than if I donated cash, and waited for the aid agencies. Maybe that will change in a few days, but that is what I am feeling now, and also I want to support a law librarian who asked. No doubt clothing manufacturers will donate in time, but the goal is to send out things NOW.
8. Some of the stores I went to are asking folks at the register to contribute money in the store name. The owners of the stores want to help in this way, they don't want to give discounts to individuals upon request.
9. Google the ten page publication by the United States Postal Service called "Notice 123, Ratefold" effective 06/30/02. Notice 123 gives fees for everything sold by the post Office. Extremely useful in determining mailing costs.
10. The retail stores will be glad to give you boxes if they have some on hand that haven't been broken down. But, the boxes we get in book shipments, are much sturdier and more manageable in size. The store boxes tend to be huge. Take some boxes from your library before you go shopping.
11. When I got Catherine's e-mail, my plan was to purchase flip-flops in bulk because they are lightweight and easily shipped. But even the upscale stores had cheesy, cheap cardboard soled flip-flops that would wear out after a few days. Hurricane victims deserve nice clothes. So the flip flop plan was abandoned (flip-flopped so to speak). After my shopping, I heard a FEMA official say that they are in dire need of flip-flops as victims would be taking many public showers. Still thinking that durable flipflops would be a good thing to find and send.
12. Remove the hangers from the clothing. They add weight to the delivery, and who needs them now?
13. Think practical -- and for warm weather. All sizes are needed. I sent nine pairs of girls underwear, eight toddler rompers, 2 baby sleepers, 21 pairs of socks for men and women, 6 mens briefs, one boys shirt and one bib. I had more luck when I ran around impulsively and surveyed a store's inventory and thought "hmmmmmmm what would be practical that's for sale right here and now" then I did when I had something in mind before I entered the store.