Chapel Hill Town Council member Bill Strom and his wife, Independent reporter, Jenn Strom are on their way to assist in animal rescue in Mississippi and Louisiana. They write about their decision to go down and help and they include a list of needs in the letter below:

Dear friends, colleagues, family members and fellow animal lovers,

After two agonizing weeks of watching the devastation Hurricane Katrina has wreaked on the Gulf Coast, Jen and I want to contribute to the recovery efforts in a hands-on way. One thing we have experience in and resources for is caring for rescued companion animals.

We are undertaking a supply and volunteer mission, working with Independent Animal Rescue, a Triangle-wide nonprofit organization we have been involved with for many years. It’s a gigantic effort to shelter several thousand displaced animals indefinitely while they recover from their ordeal and await reunions with their families or adoption. Next Friday, Sept. 23, we will set off in our camper to deliver supplies and contribute our elbow grease-walking and feeding dogs, constructing shelters, taking photos-whatever and wherever help is needed most. We are planning to head for Tylertown, Miss., where the Humane Society of Louisiana and several national organizations have set up a makeshift shelter to house and care for hundreds of animals still arriving from storm-ravaged towns in Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as many turned away from other temporary shelters that are full.

The rescue folks are sustaining themselves and their charges in very primitive conditions. Their list of needs is long and changes from day to day, and we’re asking for your help in fulfilling it. For current info and more particulars, visit the Humane Society of Louisiana’s website at, which is updated regularly. Here’s a snapshot as of today:

  1. Monetary donations (to buy gas, food and other ongoing supplies as needs change–the most useful resource in this ever-changing situation)
  2. Hot-weather survival/camping gear such as: tents, tarps, insect repellent, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, batteries, bungee cords, flashlights, solar showers, water bottles, walkie-talkie two-way radios
  3. Non-perishable, easy-to-prepare meals and snacks for people
  4. Portable, collapsible metal pet crates of all sizes, particularly large ones
  5. Treats and toys for dogs, cats, birds and small mammals, especially chew toys and rawhides for dogs
  6. Cat litter
  7. Leashes, collars, harnesses
  8. Food and water bowls
  9. Large towels
  10. Veterinary medicines and supplies
  11. Waterproof storage bins
  12. Fencing and building materials

Donations are tax-deductible through Independent Animal Rescue, a 501(c)3 organization ( Mail checks (made out to IAR) to IAR, c/o Bill and Jennifer Strom, PO Box 2252, Chapel Hill, NC 27515. To donate goods, please email us at or to arrange drop-off (we are still working on sites). If you can help us, step up now; we depart in just 10 days!

Thanks for your support on this mission, and we look forward to telling you lots of “happy endings” stories when we get back!

Jen and Bill