Carolyn Scott: Money could have gone to better cause

It looks like the inaugural parade didn't go over the fiscal cliff, but it wasn't for want of trying.

Our son Andy, a Montgomery County Police Officer, was one of the thousands of lawmen and women from all over the country lining the parade route to keep anything untoward from happening.

He tells me he didn't spy any dangerous characters in the part of the crowd to which he was assigned. So, as close as he was to all the major players he didn't actually see them, as his back was turned.

Having been sworn in as a Federal Marshal the day before, he was at his post by 3 a.m. and didn't get home until 1 a.m. That's a long day, but at time and a half pay due to duty on a federal holiday and a chance to be part of history, it was worth it.

Of course we have to protect our president, but think of extra duty pay for all those officers up and down the streets. Supposedly the balls and other extras were paid for by corporations, but I'm sure the officers are paid by government at some level. You know who that means: you and me.

The cost of the lobster for the inaugural luncheon would have gone a long way to relieve some of the distress the folks in New Jersey and Long Island are still feeling.

So while members of Congress debate sending aid, the American Red Cross is still in the stricken areas all these weeks later.

There are some corporations that donate to worthier causes than rock stars at balls.

The Tide Company sends a tractor trailer of washers and dryers to disaster areas. Folks can bring their clothes to be laundered and have them returned in a short time. This program is called "Loads of Hope."

Under Armour sent lots of shirts and jackets.

The Sheets Convenience Stores Company sent 17 refrigerated tractor trailers to preserve the donated foods.

Hilton, Marriot and Motel 6 all partner with the American Red Cross to house Red Cross staff, trained volunteers and local volunteers. When electricity is out, all volunteers stay in the shelters.

As the need decreases, excess supplies go to area shelters, hospitals and volunteer charities.

The Red Cross continues to work with victims, discovering their needs and giving counseling. Debit cards are given, as appropriate, and this has double value as it helps the local economy to get back on track.

The American Red Cross advises everyone to have an evacuation kit prepared. This should include copies of all your most valuable papers, including copies of prescriptions. It should be portable, lockable and waterproof, if possible.

If we are prepared, perhaps we'll never need it.