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Groups around Utah aiding Katrina victims

Groups around Utah are working to aid Hurricane Katrina victims. Among them are:

The Cathedral Church of St. Mark in Salt Lake City will hold a "Service of Prayer and Healing" for Katrina victims and in remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001, on Sunday, Sept. 11, at 4 p.m.

There will be a litany for those whose lives have been affected by all natural disasters throughout the world and opportunity for private prayer. The service will be similar to that held at the cathedral, 231 E. 100 South, on Sept. 14, 2001.

AAA of northern California, Nevada and Utah will match employee and member donations up to a total of $250,000. Members who wish to donate can take checks made out to the American Red Cross to any AAA office or donate online at www.csaa.com

General Growth Properties, a group that owns and operates shopping malls, including Cottonwood, Newgate, Provo Towne Centre and Red Cliffs malls, now have relief donation sites in each mall where the public can make donations to the American Red Cross.

Downtown Farmers' Market will hold a rally to accept donations for the American Red Cross today from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers from the Downtown Alliance will be located in a booth in Pioneer Park, 300 South and 300 West.

Qwest is matching employee contributions to the Red Cross up to a total of $250,000. The telecom company is also donating 2,000 free long-distance calling cards to be distributed to families affected by the disaster.

O.C. Tanner will match employee donations dollar for dollar to the American Red Cross, LDS Foundation Fund or Catholic Relief Services, based on the individual's preference. The company is also encouraging employees to carpool and use public transportation to reduce gas consumption.

Associated Food stores have donated 69,000 bottles of water to Katrina victims. The water was sent in two semi-trailer trucks.

Globus Relief, local nonprofit group, shipped out the first of several aid shipments to the South, including 26 pallets of hygiene, cleaning and food supplies. The organization will welcome further donations by phone at 1-801-977-0444 or on the Internet at www. globusrelief.org. Checks made out to Globus Relief and noted "for Hurricane Katrina" can be mailed to: 177 W. 1500 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84104.

Harmons Grocery Stores are collecting donations at each of its 11 locations and will match the donation total after two weeks up to $10,000. All money will go to the American Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund. Donations can be made at any checkout lane.

The Regence Group, health insurers, has donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross.

New Pilgrim Baptist Church in Taylorsville will serve as a drop-off point for non-perishable food, bottled water, clothing, children's toys and personal hygiene items, to be redistributed to hurricane victims being relocated to Utah. Drop-off will be available Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sinclair Oil Corp. has made an immediate donation of $500,000. It will also match employee contributions and those made by wholesale customers to the American Red Cross up to a further $500,000.

www.AmericaUnited.com is a new Web site released Friday, aiming to bring together hurricane victims and those willing to help. The Web site will provide a people connector, a housing connector and links to trustworthy charitable organizations involved in helping with hurricane relief.

Make sure charity is on up and up before giving

Utah's Division of Consumer Protection is urging Utahns to help with relief efforts, but also urging caution in doing so, warning that some organizations may by fraudulent or misleading.

"Don't automatically say yes," said Francine Giani, executive director of the division.

The organization gives the following tips:

Don't contribute unless you know the charity, its history, purpose and reputation.

Listen carefully to the name and be careful of copycat names that closely resemble those you know well.

Do not be fooled by hard-luck tales. Base your giving on factual information.

Ask exactly how the charity plans to help victims.

Don't give cash and don't make checks out to individuals.

State law requires organizations that solicit contributions to file with the Division of Consumer Protection. Check www.dcp.utah.gov to view a list of registered charities.