“In the midst of the devastation, larger relief organizations like the Red Cross and Salvation Army have been scaling down their efforts. They still have warehouses of supplies but no efficient way to distribute them to people in the poor communities of the Gulf Coast, ” writes former SSIR managing editor, David Weir in Salon.  “The Red Cross has already closed all of its shelters and the Salvation Army plans to stop its meal service before Christmas.”

In contrast, David writes, “Hands On USA volunteers are helping East Biloxi residents manage such day-to-day chores as clearing debris from their houses, finding temporary shelter and seeking counseling.”

Hurricane relief and the media that it attracts provides a golden opportunity for nonprofits - particularly large nonprofits who are under scrutiny from their donors and congress - to show that they can effectively and efficiently aid the needy.  Why aren’t the Red Cross and Salvation Army then making a better showing?