Although Lawrence's effort to adopt a family displaced by Hurricane Katrina has fallen through, the $16,000 donated by the Douglas County Community Foundation and many local residents still will be directed to a worthy cause.
The couple originally selected for adoption by local officials has decided to stay in New Orleans where they can continue their work with developmentally disabled people. Officials said a new family wouldn't be sought for adoption, but the donated funds would be used to help other people who landed in Lawrence after fleeing the storm.
Lawrence hasn't seen a large organized influx of people from the hurricane-stricken area, but a number of families have arrived and need assistance. Among those are several Vietnamese families whose homes in Biloxi, Miss., were destroyed. They have lost everything and now hope to make Lawrence their permanent home. Helping these families seems a worthy use of the locally donated funds.
Another positive decision by those administering the hurricane fund is to empower a local social service agency, the Ballard Center, to distribute that money. Using the Ballard Center as a clearing house to help people displaced by the hurricane may help ease the burden on all Lawrence social service agencies. There had been concern that agencies whose budgets already were stretched might not be able to provide help to hurricane evacuees without cutting local services.
It's no surprise that Lawrence residents were eager to reach out to those in need through a variety of efforts. The plan to adopt an evacuated family didn't work out, but the money contributed to that effort still will be put to good use.