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Victor Valley African American Chamber of Commerce (VVAACC)

Victor Valley Daily Press - KATRINA

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Wealth, Health & Prosperity

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Victor Valley Daily Press

By GRETCHEN LOSI

Staff Writer

VICTORVILLE — The devastation and victims left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina has prompted members of the High Desert's black community to join forces and develop a relief program.

Business, civic and church leaders began organizing their efforts at the Victor Valley African-American Chamber of Commerce in Victorville on Thursday.

"We are starting alliances with one common goal, and that is hurricane relief," chamber President Lionel Dew said.

Though still in its infancy, the group established its infrastructure with hopes of making a substantial impact in the relief efforts — both short and long term. Short-term plans include offering immediate assistance to the undeserved victims of Katrina.

"It's something that's needed... Those are our people," local businesswoman Daisy Rose said.

Over the next week the group expects to establish a relief fund that will enable them to accept contributions.

"Funds will open doors and allow us to get things done," the group's chairman Robert Gaines said.

He added the group will be holding a Katrina fundraiser, a gospel concert, in November. The group is also looking to identify people with a medical background willing to volunteer on the Gulf Coast. Gaines said they hope to have the volunteers in route within the next two weeks.

The group also has a long term-goal: Apply the lessons in responding to future disasters.

The group will meet again at the chamber in Victorville at 2 p.m. on Thursday. Those interested in getting involved can contact Gaines at 952-9152.

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