Hurricane Katrina Relief Group Is Born -- Atlanta Entrepreneur Mobilizes Faith, Business And Hip Hop Community For Victims Of Hurricane Katrina
Mother Nature has reared her head and in a predictably unpredictable manner struck at the Gulf Coast with a vicious blow. In a more orderly fashion there is a common place where people seek solace and healing--in their faith. America, itself, is a country founded on faith, and this article will chronicle the birth and rise of just one of the efforts, by people of faith, to help their fellow man. Realizing the immediate need for spiritual and financial support for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Rodney Sampson, a well-respected expert in faith-based marketing involving some of the biggest names in the African American community, is launching a national campaign to address these specific needs.
When I interviewed Sampson, I found him to be a steadying influence and quite focused. ?Early in the Bible, from the story of Cain and Abel we learn that we are our brother?s keeper,? said Sampson. ?Our brothers and sisters in New Orleans and all along the Gulf Coast are hurting and in need. It is our collective responsibility to take care of not only their spiritual needs, but also their physical needs.? Sampson, founder of The World Christian Times (www.worldchristiantimes.com) and Intellectual Currency Exchange, (www.intellectualcurrency.com), is mobilizing the hip hop, entertainment, business and faith based communities to encourage industry colleagues to donate money and offer strategic organized support for the relief efforts in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. ?At this point, we are organizing a global grass roots campaign to encourage people to donate money to OPERATION S.A.V.E., which is focusing on both immediate and ongoing transitional support? said Sampson. Clearly Sampson is looking to the future and trying to anticipate the needs of over a half million newly displaced people.
HURRICANE KATRINA VICTIMS RELIEF FOCUS
In talking with Sampson he discussed Operation S.A.V.E. and its specific focus. Realizing that tens of millions of dollars will be donated but may never directly affect the persons most affected, monies raised by Operation S.A.V.E. will be distributed in four strategic areas:
SAFETY ? Monies will be donated to faith-based organizations to assist with making direct contact with families in transition. Medical supplies, prescribed medications, toiletries, and other necessities will be purchased and provided directly to families in transition.
ATTITUDES ? Bibles and other encouraging books will be purchased and provided to families in transition; Internet broadcasting technology will be used to distribute encouraging messages of hope from faith based and entertainment leaders.
VIABILITY ? Clothes, books and toys will be purchased, collected and distributed to families in transition.
ECONOMICS ? The World Christian Times will develop an economic transition package for families seeking employment, living space, and schooling for their children. Displaced families will be able to apply directly for monies. Partnering organizations are being identified now to assist with this process.
We are also looking to partner with more organizations to fulfill other important needs for those displaced from the hurricane, including putting Bibles in their hands and connecting them with spiritual counsel, job opportunities and financial assistance, said Sampson?. Interestingly enough Sampson is focusing much of his efforts on how the younger hip-hop generation can participate in relief efforts.
ONE MILLION HURRICANE KATRINA RELIEF PARTNERS NEEDED
The immediate goal of The World Christian Times is to get one million concerned global citizens to partner and donate a minimum of ten dollars a month for a minimum of six months. The World Christian times emergency call center and online system will manage all donations. A 24-hour hot line was quickly set up (1-888-777-3473) to receive donations from concerned citizens. ?Often times, celebrities and entertainers may make large one time donations directly to disaster relief organizations,? noticed Sampson. However, our objective is to leverage their God given influence in partnership with our existing technology and infrastructure to encourage their fans and followers to give also. This strategy will have greater impact and that is what we are organizing and executing.? Other small businesses have joined Sampson in the outreach effort which will be coordinated through the relief effort websites, www.operationsave.us and www.worldchristiantimes.com. Public relations, Internet marketing, web development, Internet streaming, CPA?s, media outlets, and marketing firms are joining the cause. Conversations are being held with Bible and book publishers, transportation companies, and staffing companies to assist in the effort.
AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA ONGOING STRATEGY
To execute the Operation SAVE campaign, The World Christian Times and its partnering organization have established a central web site titled www.opreationsave.us. This interactive website will display video footage from the hip-hop and entertainment community, call to action requests, news updates, and details of how the global community can participate. An additional feature of the site will act to provide a real time network between potential employers of the victims of the hurricane who no longer have a job. Remember that it will take months for New Orleans to even be habitable and all but the largest businesses will be long closed down. In fact, this may very well be the single largest one-day reduction of jobs in the US employee base in the history of the country. Finally, the site will act as a portal to support the distribution of clothing, spiritual materials such as bibles, and even something as simple as toys for the tens of thousands of children who have lost everything.
Whenever you talk with Sampson a term comes up consistently--?Influencers?. Sampson flatly states ?The concept of a role model has been twisted in so many directions that I felt a new term should be coined? Sampson goes on to say, ?I noticed that people in leading positions actually influence the actions of others hence the term influencers?. Operation SAVE is focusing on key influencers who will direct people from every walk of life to go to the Operation SAVE site or call the hot line.
DIFFICULT RELIEF MISSION, BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE
Sampson?s goal to attract 1 million partners to give monthly is difficult but definitely not impossible. He works with churches, companies and not-for-gain organizations on a daily basis that are utilizing direct mail, Internet, call center, and creative marketing strategies to build global partnership programs that generate millions of dollars per year.
One company that has risen to the partnership call is Career School Aid (www.careerschoolaid.com), overseen by Managing Director, Sam Ingram. The company is well known for its efforts to empower people through lifelong training involving dozens of partner schools in many diverse industries. ?My initial reaction to the events in the Gulf Coast was shock and disbelief?, stated Ingram, ?I knew I had to act and thankfully I was introduced to the efforts of Rodney Sampson and Operation SAVE. Our company intends to focus on the ongoing mission of re-training the displaced people of New Orleans?. Ingram went on to say that people will ultimately have to move on with the rest of their lives, and he feels strongly that the federal government will develop a long-term re-education plan for displaced people.
Sampson hopes that the influencers like Ingram will understand and grasp how their ?brands? and ?popularity? can be leveraged with technology and outreach to accomplish more than just a one-time donation. There are millions of respective followers in hip-hop, faith, and entertainment that drive a multi-billion dollar marketplace. ?It is proven that Billions of dollars are generated each year via album sales, concerts, conferences, festivals, books, and endorsements,? proclaimed Sampson. ?Our collective objective is to shift a very small percentage of these revenue streams towards a global common good that will reach the audience that these influencers serve.?
As Sampson sits in his office, with phones ringing seemingly every 30 seconds, a little of his own philosophy is revealed. ?The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes but a second longer? says Sampson as he peers into the future. Only time will tell if the rest of us can see his vision.
Contributing Writer Rena Olsen
Press Direct International
Press Direct International
About the Author: Bruce Prokopets, Executive Editor of Press Direct International - CONTACT FOR RELIEF INFORMATION Those wishing to make a donation can call 1-888-777-3473 or visit the website: www.operationsave.us or www.worldchristiantimes.com; Those wishing to partner can call The World Christian Times at 1-404-724-0003 or email at: email@example.com. For media partnership or interviews, please contact Diane Stefani at The Rosen Group, 212.255.8455, EXT.27 OR VIA EMAIL AT DIANE@ROSENGROUP.COM.