Archive for October, 2005
Date: Tuesday, October 18, 2005
COLONIE – It was the underwear comment that got to her, Kathleen Godfrey remembers.
A few days after Hurricane Katrina dismantled the Gulf Coast, Godfrey like many others, had had picked up pen and checkbook. But she also made a call to Robelynn Abadie, the immediate past president of Women in Financial Services, who lives and works in Baton Rouge, La.
“Robelynn said, `How often have you had to wear the same underwear two days in a row?’ and I said, `Probably less than a handful.’ She then said, `A lot of these people are wearing the same underwear every day.’”
“It was her way of saying they didn’t need money,” Godfrey said.
A financial planner herself with her own business in Colonie, Godfrey decided she would try to gather some goods through donations from clients and friends.
She then sent out an e-mail in early September announcing her own personal relief drive and that she would be accepting donations at her office on British American Boulevard.
She also provided a list of most-needed items, such as disposable diapers, baby items, shampoo, lotion, soap, toothpaste, deodorant and, of course, underwear.
She limited collection to just a week because, the note said, “time is of the essence.
Within a few days, the conference room was piled high with donations. She also got a discount on shipping from United Parcel Service and two commercial clients offered to pick up that cost.
Godfrey, 49, then enlisted, with the enticement of a pizza, her daughters, Carlene, 22 and Molly, 14, to help pack up the donations.
“That next day, I thought about the boxes making their way to people who have nothing,” Godrey recalled.
When the shipment arrived in Baton Rouge, Abadie acknowledged with a note: “It is so wonderful to know that others, just like you, are willing to go the extra measure.”
Abadie had begun her own collections because she was upset over the slowness of government to respond. All the goods donated to her went to churches, shelters and service groups who were helping the refugees coming out of New Orleans to Baton Rouge.
Godfrey’s efforts are in keeping with some of her other volunteer work. She is first vice president of the Hudson Valley Girl Scout Council and is a member of the board of directors of the Women’s Employment and Resource Center, a place which helps displaced homemakers find new employment.
The Women in Financial Services group is holding its national meeting next week, Godfrey said, and she is to be seated on the board of directors. But, more importantly, she said she’s thinking of what further can be done for the people.
“They’ve lost everything,” she said. “I’m especially sad for the many parents who can’t find their children and the children who can’t find their parents. And, Christmas is coming.”