How can we all respond to the destruction of one of our major cities?
I would like to thank mia_d for pointing out Mercy Corps to me. Mercy Corps was started in the late seventies as a response to the events in Cambodia at the time. As a result, they have expertise in both the short term and long term needs of displaced, devastated people. In addition to emergency relief, they also assist in permanent re-housing, employment, re-establishment of small businesses, and helping children resume school. As a former non-profit administrator, I am deeply impressed by the fact that only 8% of their budget is spent on administration, fundraising and evaluation. They are consistently rated as one of the top well-run charitable organizations in the United States.
Also, thank you helloreplace for the information on Modest Needs, who focus on keeping people out of the poverty/public assistance cycle. They have started a special program for people affected by Hurricane Katrina. Like Mercy Corps, they have very low administrative costs and always do full disclosure on their financials, so you know exactly where your money is going.
A plus: with Modest Needs, if you are an ebay seller, you can donate your earnings which is an option if you don't have a lot spare cash buy you but do have some old things you need getting rid of anyway.