Help out a fellow fed

Friday - 11/23/2012, 2:00am EST

(This column originally appeared Nov. 13)

It's great to donate money to starving children overseas and to support charities, hospitals and rescue animals. But there are times when there is nothing wrong with turning inward and helping people, even fellow federal workers and retirees, closer to home, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says. Like now...

It is noble to help starving children overseas, to adopt shelter animals and to donate money to charitable and research hospitals. In return, some offer you a T- shirt, certificate, tote bag or monthly pictures and thank-you cards.

My two favorite charities are a national organization that helps people down-on-their-luck and trains them for work, and a children's hospital where nobody is turned away because they can't pay. Turns out one of my sons has given generously — meaning even more than me — to the same hospital. It is our way of saying thanks for having, between us, seven healthy and happy (most of the time) children.

Global giving notwithstanding, there are times when charity begins closer-to-home. Maybe this is one of them. Superstorm Sandy barely clipped the D.C. area. We stocked up as per usual. Our comfort kit is white milk, white bread and toilet paper. All we got was some cold rain.

Other parts of the Atlantic coast got slammed. New Jersey and New York took a major hit. We've all seen the TV shots of the Jersey shore, flooding in lower Manhattan, etc. People are still without power, heat or fuel. Cops are monitoring gasoline rationing in stations which have the electric power to run the pumps. Many ATMs are out. Some people's homes are gone or uninhabitable.

They can use our support and (if that's your thing) prayers. But also, they can use cash. Like now.

There are many ways we can help. The Red Cross and Salvation Army are obvious choices. And there are many more.

For federal and postal workers, there is an obvious choice: FEEA. The Federal Employees Education and Assistance Fund. FEEA gets its money from some very generous corporate sponsors (GEICO, Blue Cross-Blue Shield, LTC Partners), and from some very generous federal workers. Some contribute with each paycheck via the Combined Federal Campaign. Others, at times like now, contribute directly.

Members of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association hit by the hurricane can apply for grants of up to $500 through the NARFE-FEEA fund. They must have documentation of damage or need. Those wishing to apply can do so by clicking here. Or, call (800) 338-0755. Remember, the lines are busy, and they are staffed by volunteers.

To donate to the NARFE-FEEA fund members can send tax deductible donations to:

NARFE-FEEA Disaster c/o: FEEA
3333 S. Wadsworth Blvd.
Suite 300
Lakewood, CO 80227.

You can also donate by credit card by calling (800) 338-075 or by clicking here. Select "NARFE-FEEA Relief Fund" from the drop down menu in the Gift Designation Section.

The National Treasury Employees Union (one of the co-founders of FEEA) has pledged to match up to $25,000 based on member contributions to FEEAs's NTEU Fund. More than 30 major federal installations (as well as the homes of workers) were right in the Hurricane Sandy bullseye.

All East Coast victims of the hurricane can download an application by clicking here.


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

By Jack Moore

Twenty-eight women crammed into a Mini Cooper car in London last week to set a new Guinness World record. "The adrenaline is amazing," said one of the participants who was dubbed "Gearstick Girl," so named for her precarious perch in the tiny vehicle.

(Source: MSN news)


MORE FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO

New technologies key to Postal Service revitalization
From digitization of mail to GPS tracking, the Postal Service is investing in new technologies to help it grow revenue. Ellis Burgoyne, the agency's chief information officer, says his department is concentrating on five main projects in 2013 that will help the Postal Service cut costs while improving efficiency and customer service. USPS ended fiscal 2012 with $15.9 billion of debt.

Exclusive: Budget crunch impacts recruiting, training, CHCOs say
Budget constraints are top of mind for agency chief human capital officers. And with good reason. CHCOs say they are feeling the effects of the budget crunch, particularly in recruiting, retaining and training employees, according to an exclusive Federal News Radio survey.

'Give it a rest,' USPTO chief tells patent critics
The director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office offered a forceful defense of his agency and of the patentability of software amid an ongoing debate over whether software ought to be entitled to patent protection. While USPTO chief David Kappos acknowledged software is a challenging topic, critics need to let the system work as various updates to the nations' patent laws come into effect, he said Tuesday in a speech at the Center for American Progress.