Ideas on assisting in the relief effort without going in person. Much can be done without leaving your house. Give those affected by disaster some hope, and use some of these ideas to help them.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Thank You's

From DJ

Thanks, Leslie!

I check your blog often, there is such a wealth of information there. I'm going down to Lakeshore, Mississippi, from April 26th-30th (flying down to New Orleans) with five other women from our church. We're excited about it - we may be cooking for other volunteers, sorting items in the warehouse (the gymnasium of the destroyed and untouched Gulfview Elementary), or even painting, if some folks have gotten to that point in their rebuilding. Or - anything we're asked to do :-)

My husband will lead another team of men the end of June.We've got to keep caring...Thank you for all you do - you keep people inspired.


A huge Thank You to the students at Chenango Valley School District for taking on Pass Christian!

From Leslie Holly to:

A huge Thank You to the Binghamton Tennis Center for their ongoing donation of dead tennis balls.
Dead tennis balls? Yes! The teachers in the affected region can put them on the bottoms of the students' chairs so they don't make marks on the floors of the FEMA trailers. This way, there will be no financial penalty for permanently marring the floors from (gads!) use.

Between the BTC and Binghamton University, we should obtain our initial goal of 300 within the month! After this first initial goal, we'll take it further to other schools as we are able.

Thank you again Mr. Starke!

And Thank You to the Calvary United Methodist Church in Vestal, NY

They recently had a rummage sale with some items left over - as is normal. I called and asked, and they allowed me, to come look over the 'left overs' for any items that might be needed. I collected a number of books, some area rugs and a CRIB to send down. WOW!

These folks are so incredible - they also allowed me to leave a poster for volunteers, a business card I made so people can access this blog and are going to help spread the word for the need.

Thank you so much!

From The Hancock County Library System
A huge Thank You from the Hancock County Library System to The Ithaca NY Rotary.
They were gracious enough to make a cash donation to the library system in order to assist in rebuilding.
Thank you so much!

Direct Quote - no editing: From Jeanne Brooks of The Charles B Murphy Elementary in Pearlington

Greetings from Mississippi! Good things are happening and I'd like to share them with you! These are a few pictures of what your time, talents, and resources have provided.

There are now 5 brand new Dell computers in each classroom with an additonal 3 in our office.(Buccaneer Computers/C. Hunter Richie Elementary) Our Renaissance Place educational programs are being remotely installed at this moment. Each portable shares an overhead and TV combo. (Thanks again, Gary)

There are bookshelves in place in every room holding lots of wonderful books for our children and teachers. (Longfellow School, Portland -shelving) (books from Carbondale, Brooksville, NY, Castine, Penobscot, Kentucky, New Jersey, California, Alabama )

I created a library in one-fourth of our office portable, bought Home Depot shelving, and with the help of a volunteer from New York, have unpacked EVERY box (and there were 100's) of books,that are now alphabetized and shelved. (Shelves from Savannah and N.C) And last, but not least, as of yesterday we have an 8x8 shed buillt by Sheds of Hope (thanks, Julie!).

As you can see, from microwaves (Carol), an office refrigerator( (Chris),a coffee pot (Deb) office furniture (Keith, Darrell, Ron, Tom/Carbondale), radios(Christine), clocks, watches, bookends, library supplies(Rick), school supplies, backpacks,jackets and clothing (Ms Anne/Tee) sweatshirts (Ms Sadie) laminator (Montana), binding machine(California), office chairs (Nevada) and even the camera that took these pictures (Kelly in PA), books, umbrellas, ponchos (Linda).

We don't know how we would have managed without you. You brought Thanksgiving baskets (Linda) and treats for our kids. Christmas presents arrived by the truckloads unitl I honestly felt like one of Santa's elves! There's no way I've even covered half of all you have done for us...not just gift cards and cash, but supplies, furnishings, cards, letters, phone calls, and the friendships and volunteer hours of so many people all over this country. We have become one with Maine, and Colorado, and Pennsylvania and Virginia and Georgia, and on and on... You've all done so much for us that's it's impossible to list everything, but please know that the children of Charles B. Murphy Elementary have been blessed by your efforts and have learned powerful lessons about the goodness and generosity of others that will impact their entire lives.

Many of you spent countless hours sorting materials, books, supplies and then lugged them to the post office or UPS store to get them to me. Some of you drove hours and hours and hundreds and hundreds of miles to bring things to me...someone you had never even seen before! You've listened to me laugh, cry, rant, and rave...and you've cared enough to listen and then were brave enough to keep calling!As a teacher for the past thirty-one years, I have weathered all kinds of situations. Personally and professionally my life has been changed by the events of the year. In looking back, though, as hard as this year has been since Katrina, I would go through all of it all over again if it meant that I would have you all as friends. The hole in my roof left by Hurricane Katrina has been repaired. And each of you, in your own special way, have filled the hole in my heart. I love you all!

With profound gratitude!
Jeanne Brooks

Journaling Your Relief Effort Experiences

Many people are creating journals of what they are doing with, for and in the Gulf Region. Many aren't, but should.

What I am listing here are the things I've done since I started my work for Hancock County. I have learned that documenting like a journalist is darn handy. Remember - who, what, where, when, why and how. Not all of those get covered in each entry I make, but it certainly is a great foundation to start with.

I have 3 notebooks, 3 blogs, 2 email addresses, and 3 address right now. The 3-subject notebook has MS Contacts, Local Contacts and Notes.

The Notebooks

Each contact has their own page, front and back. I have as much contact infromation as I can get, listed first: Name, Organization, Address, E-mail (s), Phone # (s), etc. Then I list what I know of them - how they got involved, how we came into contact, etc. The rest of the room is for any notes (w/dates) from further contact I make with the person as time goes on. I had to redo this notebook because I wasn't so efficient the first time around - so that did allow me to put the contact in alphabetical order. By giving each contact a full page, I have room to add other contacts on the back of pages, if it's necessary - which it has been on a few occasions.

The "Notes" section is for jotting down the date, who I contacted and why, by phone, email or snailmail. Ths way I can keep track of timing, should I need to recontact someone at a designated date.

My two smaller notebooks are for rought note-taking - when I'm on the phone with someone, I jot as much down as possible - and condense it to the pertinent info for the big notebook. It's also for writing rough drafts of letters, blog posts, etc. The first of these two is almost full, which is why the second one has come into being. Each notebook's pages are numbered, with the first 2-3 pages dedicated to being a Table of Contents. I learned this in College Chemistry and won't live without it. It might seem about as obsessive compulsive as can be, but when you need to look something up, it beats flipping through every page trying to find that 3 word phrase you just know is in there somewhere! You can add the numbering at any time, but obviously is much easier when you first start using it. I put the numbers in the bottom right corner, but that's for you to decide.

The Blogs

Having 3 blogs sounds pretty outrageous as well. And in a way, it is. But since my email is through AOL, I decided to set up 2 that are variations on this one. With the "power of AOL" being what it is, many people don't surf outside it's "borders" for their internet experience. So I created the 2 extras there. One is all of the ideas that people can use to assist in the recovery, and the other is purely the needs lists. I may make them the same as this one, but for now having them split gets different demographics of surfers and interested parties. I just copy and paste this information into the appropriate one over there, so there isn't much extra effort involved.

The E-Mail Addresses

I honestly didn't know how long I would be able to assist in the recovery effort, so didn't think to set up an email address just for this effort until about 3 months into it. I am slowly getting all of my contacts moved over to the KatrinaCoalition@aol.com address, but until then, checking the two emails isn't that big of a deal. And, it allows me to keep closer track of the requests I send out by having it separate from my 'personal' address. Obviously it isn't necessary, but for the number of people I contact, it makes life much easier.

The Address Books

Again, 3 seems a bit "out there". And it is. But all of these contacts are so valuable to me that I will not risk losing them, if I can possibly help it. So, I have the contact information in the big notebook, I have the same information in a Hand-Held - which allows me to sort by organization or person's name - which makes life great when I don't have a person's last name, or they don't really have an organization that I can put them neatly in the notebook. I also have most of the contact information in my address book online. At some point I'll put it all there as well, but I'm also something of a conspiracy theorist and don't want anyone getting some of this personal contact information just by tapping a few buttons on their keyboard.


I have saved almost every email associated with this endeavor. I do clean them out on occasion, but it's pretty rare. Again - like the little notebook, you never know when you'll need the information. I have 8 folders in my "saved mail" section to categorize the stuff in - makes life easier to have it sorted to begin with. In "My Files" within the computer itself, I have a folder for Katrina Work that has folders for DL'd files, articles, articles I've written, letters I've written, pictures I've DL'd, pictures sent to me, etc. This speeds up the work here on the blog considerably. Plus, with my disability involving my eyes, it makes eye strain far less likely.


I don't keep a journal per se. I figure I'll remember the feelings a lot more than I'll remember the details surrounding the feelings. So I keep feelings in me and the details on paper.

So there can be a lot more to keeping a journal than just sitting in bed and scribbling a few notes before you drift off to sleep. But this makes the job you're doing within such an enormous national undertaking much easier to keep track of than just jotting those few sentances before sleep. And one thing I learned while being a paramedic - if you didn't write it, you didn't do it.

Without writing down the details of what you have done, there's no way to prove or disprove what you've done or not done, said or not said. I do hope this helps folks who are already working for the Recovery, or are about to start. You don't have to put something in a daily basis, nor do you have to be quite as meticulous as I. But when you've got so many irons in the fire as I do - it makes a lot of sense to keep the notes I keep.

Comparing International Levees

THIS is why we need to fix the levees.http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0112-15.htm

Here's how the British hold back the waters from flooding London:

And the Dutch solution to protecting an entire nation that mostly rests below sea level:

The Italians are defending their city on the sea, Venice:

And... Here's how the richest, most powerful and technologically advancednation on earth protected against the long-forecasted flooding of New Orleans:

Why We Need To Rebuild

Well, I'm hearing new carefully worded rumblings regarding the Federal Government should be involved in the recovery of the Central Gulf Coast and whether any type of rebuilding should even occur.

Let's examine both of these topics, taking the politics right out of the fight.

Logistically, the Fed. Gov't is the only establishment large enough to command the resources required to supply the initial rebuilding. When a geographic area roughly the size of England is destroyed, can it be a reasonable request for that area to deal with the problem itself? Would England be able to? No. Europe as a whole would be needed for a disaster of that magnitude. There is no way local, county, regional or state level agencies of any kind (both non governmental and governmental) could support the logistics needed for this size endeavor. It would be absurd for anyone to think it possible.

Within emergency services, there are levels of response. If 1 town or 1 department can not cope with a particular emergency, "mutual aid" is called in. An emergency of this natur exlipses any mutual aid plan that an entire region could absorb. And so too, it goes with rebuilding. When all infrastructure is literally no longer in existance - electric, natural gas, petrolium products, phone lines, ROADS, water, sewer, rail lines - what town, county, combination of counties, state or combination of states can absorb this kind of rebuilding? Pragmatically, it can not possibly be done without federal assistance. It is for this very reason the federal government *does* exist - to handle issues that are too large for the states and that affect the entire nation.

Which brings us to the next point - whether to rebuild at all. Unfortunately, we have no choice, Closing down the central Gulf of Mexico to save money on rebuilding is penny wise and pound foolish at best. Economically, it can not occur. Oil and food stuffs from South America come through there. Manufacturing goods such as steel and wood flow through the ports found in the devestated areas. Oil refineries, oil platforms, travel and tourism are also located throughout the region, creating major economic implications.

Any type of rebuilding will require workers to support the area. Those working in the ports, the fishing industry, the oil and natural gas industries will need places to live, shop, eat and entertain. And so too, will those jobs need filling and housing. Even if the entire region became a "resort community" as some have whispered, those using and living within these communities are highly unlikely to do the service jobs that are required to support such communities. Again, with those jobs come a need for housing and support as well. Regardless of how you look at it, the Central Gulf Coast will rebuild.

So we might as well rebuild as efficiently and as safely as we can so we as a nation won't have to absorb this kind of devestation again.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Rummage Sale Letter

Our paper runs a weekly events section. Within this, it also lists most of the rummage sales churches throughout the community are holding that coming weekend. This letter is written for you to send to the churches in hopes of them assisting in small but very significant ways.....

Leslie Holly

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been working exclusively with Hancock County, MS in its rebuilding efforts since October 2005.

I am asking you to get involved as well, in 2 different ways.

Enclosed are the needs lists of several agencies working in Hancock County. I also have a large file of very specific books for a Hancock County elementary school. While they have extremely limited space for books, they are requesting the books on this list. If you are interested in this file, I can email it to you or send it on a CD since it is about 49 pages long, sorted by author and title.

After your rummage sale is complete, would you please review the enclosed lists, pick out any items on the lists that are in what is left from the sale, box the items and ship them to the appropriate agencies?

Everyone in the Gulf Region is in such need and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Only about 10% of all businesses have reopened throughout the region, which makes the purchase of any item significantly challenging.

The second way I am asking you to help is by going through a website that allows for a church-to-church “adoption”. It is taking dozens of churches to help fill the needs of each affected church, and so we must reach out and help our fellow citizens and Christians. http://www.internationalaid.org/programs/Katrina/churchtochurch.htm

Please prayerfully consider these requests. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.


Leslie Holly

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Avoiding Heat Related Illness

I sent this out to all the volunteer associations I am working with in Hancock County. Please feel free to use this information to better inform your volunteers or friends...

Hello everyone.

Since summer has set in on the Gulf, but spring has barely arrived up North, I figured I’d write a small missive about Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke and Dehydration. These are all things you will have to watch your volunteers for as they work. I am also attaching a poster you can place where the volunteers will see it.

My medical background includes having been a paramedic and in emergency medical services for 15 years as well as having a degree in Health Science and Exercise Physiology. I have also lived in Louisville, KY and Dallas, TX so am very familiar with working in very hot, humid conditions.

Most of your volunteers are what would be called unconditioned. They aren’t athletes in any sense of the word, so their ability to deal with heat under physical stress is diminished. That’s one strike. The next strike is if they have any underlying medical conditions, which I would guess about half have. If they have high blood pressure or heart conditions, you need for them to do as little hard manual labor as possible. Any medications they are on are likely to diminish their ability to deal with heat even further.

So, since you’re only working with one strike left, you’ve got to make the most of it.

1. Strongly urge that no caffeine be taken to the work sites. Caffeine in the AM and after work is finished is tolerable, but not during work.
2. Carbonated beverages are tolerable, but not optimal during work.
3. Take breaks every 15 minutes to drink. Suggest they take their pulse.
4. Seriously consider stopping work at 2PM.
5. Urge the volunteers to alternate water with their favorite beverage.

Caffeine increases body temperature, pulse, constricts blood vessels and draws water out of the body. None of these things are good in hot conditions. Hence, no caffeine at work sites.

Carbonated beverages don’t offer much more than sugar with a little water, so aren’t of high value, but are certainly better than drinking nothing at all. Sports drinks are ok as well, as is Gatorade or Tang.

By taking breaks every 15 minutes to drink, this will help better assure hydration and will also keep Heat Exhaustion/Stroke at bay. Having them take their pulse during these breaks will also give a very quick evaluation of their status. If their heart rates are over 100 5 minutes into the break, they need to rest further. Heat Exhaustion is beginning.

The hottest part of the day actually begins after 2PM – generally around 3PM and continues well into the evening. In Dallas, temperatures would remain into the 90’s well after midnight. If you must, begin work early – say 630AM. This is generally the coolest time of the day.

Knowing that water can be very tedious, urge the volunteers to alternate their beverages with water. As I stated before, just about anything is acceptable, as long as water is included. The best test for full hydration is the color of the urine. Clear and almost colorless is perfect. If it’s cloudy and dark, the person is NOT drinking enough. This will be included in the poster. Gatorade is good. Tang might be better. It is higher in potassium, which is more important than the sodium in Gatorade. Plus, people might drink more of it due to better taste. And it can be mixed to individual strengths.

No alcohol. Heat Exhaustion/Stroke can set in well after the work is complete. Alcohol has the best potential to throw a person’s body into one of these long after the hot work is done.

Think about having things such as dill pickles and green olives available. After work in Dallas, I would eat at least a half dozen olives and then drink another gallon of water during the evening. Even with this, I would be dehydrated by the end of the week. 2 gallons of fluids each day is not unreasonable and very much favored. Expect the volunteers to be dehydrated by week’s end and not be performing as well as they should. Accidents will be far more likely the last day of work due to the brain not working quite right without its water.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion:
The signs of heat exhaustion include paleness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fainting, and a moderately increased temperature (101-102 degrees F). They will also have excessive sweating. This means they will look like they’ve been hit with a fire hose of water. You’ll know it if you see it.

If a person shows these signs, get them to a cool shady place that has a fan or breeze. Make them lie down and drink fluids as much as possible. If they are vomiting, they may need to seek emergency medical assistance as this can lead to Heat Stroke. They will NOT be able to work for the duration of their visit. Heat Exhaustion does not end in a day. It takes several days to weeks to fully recover.

Signs of Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat illness. It can occur even in people who are not exercising, if the weather is hot enough. These people have warm, flushed (red) skin, and do not sweat. Whether exercise-related or not, though, a person with heat stroke usually has a very high temperature (106 degrees F or higher), and may be delirious, unconscious, or having seizures. These people need to have their temperature reduced quickly, often with ice packs, and must also be given IV fluids for rehydration; they must be taken to the hospital as quickly as possible and may have to stay in the hospital for observation since many different body organs can fail in heat stroke.

Anyone suffering from Heat Stroke must not work in this type environment again for about a year and may never be able to again. Heat Stroke alters the body’s ability to tolerate hot environments. Also – if anyone in the team does suffer Heat Stroke, assume all are suffering from Heat Exhaustion and stop all work.

I know it sounds serious. And it is. But with proper hydration listed at the beginning, there will be no problems. I just want you aware of what could happen so that you can take care of yourself and your volunteers.

If you are a long-term volunteer, please consider eating yogurt daily, significantly reducing your sugar intake and even taking acidophyllus pills. Change underclothes (socks too) twice a day. These steps will help significantly diminish your chances of getting athlete's foot, jock itch or a yeast infection - which are all basically the same thing.

The Following is a poster I made for you to put where your volunteers will be able to read it and educate themselves:

Avoid Heat Related Illness!
No Caffeine While Working
Drink Fluids Every 15 Minutes While Working
Rest 5 Minutes Every 15 Minutes
Take Your Pulse Before Starting Work Again.
Your pulse is over 100, REST until it’s below 90.
You feel nauseous, STOP working.
You stop sweating, STOP working.
You feel dizzy, STOP working.
Find the coolest spot possible, lie down, and drink copious amounts of fluids. If, after 30 minutes you continue to feel ill or worse, seek medical attention NOW and alert your team leader. No work for the rest of the day.
After work, continue drinking every 15 minutes until your urine is clear and pale yellow. Dark and/or cloudy means you’re dehydrated. It’ll only get worse tomorrow if you don’t keep drinking.
If you don’t like water, alternate it with another fluid. NO ALCOHOL

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Preparing For The New Season

The Red File


This is probably the single best thing you can do to help yourself and the rest of the country.

Sounds corny huh?

Well, think about it. This hurricane season is supposed to be equally destructive, but aiming more at the East Coast. We've already had a record tornado season and it has only just begun.

By following the directions on The Red File's website, you can save everyone huge amounts of trouble, cost and immediate assistance. It will also save you from the disaster so many have faced this past year of losing everything and not being able to get to what little savings they have by not having the paperwork in another spot.

The Red File explains how to set up this file or box of paperwork that is basically your identity. Anything that has a number associated with your name needs to be in this file. You need to make 2 copies. One for you to store near you and one you send out of town to a family member or friend so that if the entire region is destroyed (ie The Gulf Coast), you'll still have access to your information!

PLEASE take the day and create this file. It'll save you if you have a fire in your home, a tornado, flood, hurricane, earthquake, or even the Bird Flu comes through your area.

Spread the word. Everyone needs to do this. The weather this past year has proven no area in the country is without significant risk to destruction due to Mother Nature.

The Red File.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Editorial Letter Finding Ways To Assist

I wrote this letter to my paper and it was published. Please use it with my permission to send to your paper...

To Whom It May Concern,

The Hurricane Season is long over, but its effects are still massive and far reaching. In order for the Gulf Region and its multitude of industries to recover, we as a nation must assist.Individuals must seek out ways to help, either at home or by going to the region and volunteering directly.

Our schools need to help the affected school districts that have been damaged or have taken in the thousands of displaced children.

Our emergency services organizations and hospitals must look outside the box in order to help the affected towns and fellow agencies.

All local volunteer and non-profit organizations should look to their national affiliates for guidance, but should also be flexible enough to find avenues to assist in all ways possible.

Our local, county, state and federal governments need to find ways to assist - even if only by sending surplus items to 'sister' governments. This includes 'adopting' a locale of similar demographics. What if it were our town, county or state that had been devestated? We too would hope for the assistance.

This recovery will take at least 10 years without a national effort.

Let's do what we can to halve that number.


Leslie Updates, April

Hello all! It's been a busy week of writing and waiting. Hurry up and wait kind of thing.

But, I have gotten several new rounds of contacts that are putting me in touch with folks who can give me more info about the needs of the municipalities.

I have to say I am falling in love with the folks at Gulf Coast News! They are incredible about putting out accurate and thorough information as often as they can. If only all news media were so diligent. Check them out at www.GulfCoastNews.com.

I'm noticing that the municipalities are in a new stage of crisis. I know these last 8 months have had them putting pieces back together, and now they are finding that the pieces are held together with bubble gum wrappers and baling wire. And with a new hurricane season about 30 days away, that's a scary proposition. BUT - the difference is, things have settled down enough that they have the time and the emotional wherewithall to speak out. That alone is far sooner than expected.

So - anticipate some new needs lists and updates this coming week.

A woman here in my area has taken up the torch and we're hoping to accomplish great things with each other's help. I've made the contacts, and now she's going to try to connect the dots between folks here and folks in Hancock County. How cool would that be?! Needless to say, I'm excited! It also seems she has worked with a governmental program for the elderly that gets them some sort of grant. It's a once in a lifetime kind of application and awarding, but hey! - If it's there, we'll take it! So, once she gets the full information out, I'll either give her the contacts to send it to, or forward it for her. Either way works for me!

I'm working on a letter to construction crews and contractors in an attempt to get them to the Gulf Region in the next 60 days. Most regions have a deadline this summer before new building codes begin which are far more stringent (and expensive). So, if building can begin prior to the deadline, (July 1 in Hancock County), people stand a far greater chance of being able to move back in.

A God Thing happened this past week. A man I do NOT know emailed me from the Biloxi area. It seems he, like hundreds of others, was drawn to the area to become a long-term volunteer. He read my personal update that I send to friends and family, and contacted me regarding the commercial fishermen who are getting KNOW help. He stated he could help! WOW. I gave his contact info to Yvonne, she contacted him and it seems he truly CAN help. I'm beyond ecstatic! How he got my personal update is beyond me. All I care about is that he can help this group of people that are so vital to the region and that no one else has taken up the torch for.

I wrote about a child with leukemia getting a bone marrow transplant and needing a clean house, but even the FEMA trailer is being invaded by mold (as well built as they are, really!). Well, the transplant went incredibly well, but the rebuilding of the house isn't. The woman in BSL who took charge thought she had a group of 50 skilled workers to come in and whip the place in shape. NONE of them showed. How sad is that? How can all of them be so irresponsible? She's at her wits end trying to figure out how to finish the house and I have no answers. Everyone I know down there can't break away to go to Slidell and help. Very sad indeed. If you would like to help this family, you can still assist by helping pay for the appliances through a Home Depot registry. Contact me for the full information.

On a discouraging note - well, another discouraging note - I have run into more people with delusions of grandeur through this ordeal that I am completely astounded. We all have a story to tell about our work, but to think what we have done, are doing, or plan to do is so important that it is worthy of publishing over the stories of those who lived through this disaster and then hoping to PROFIT off it disgusts me. Can no one do the right thing for the right reasons anymore? It can be so disheartening to see the sanctimony, the narcissism, arrogance and gall to see how important they think they are. No tragedy of this magnitude has been summed up in books of singular actions. Yes, there are stories of actions and people that go completely beyond all expectations. And sometimes they are even found out by the public at large. But the history that stands through it all, that which does not get lost in the chaff, is the history told through compilations of little stories that give the grand picture rather than a singular microcosm told ad nauseum.

I am saddened by this portion of our human nature. I know it exists, but it still saddens and disgusts me.

It's been a quiet week - still not a whole lot going on since Holy Week - which is fine. The people need to take small breaks once in awhile.Found out that Disaster Corp is leaving come June 1. I honestly don't know how large of an organization they are, so have to assume they are very small and they all need a break if they are going to be of any use in the future. That's what pacing yourself is all about.
It seems like there are FINALLY grants coming through for the folks in the Gulf Region. I know it takes time to set these things up, but it also feels like forever when it takes 8 months! However, I'll continue looking and posting them as I find them in hopes they help the folks down there. I know there are a few who read my blog and pass the info along to those who don't have internet access yet.
Have finally finished writing to all the NYS Universities. My next ongoing project is to start writing to Medical Clinics for continued assistance at the free med clinics, Police Departments to assist their choice of any of the PD's in the affected areas and the few paid Fire Departments for the same reason.
There are a whopping 4 gas stations and 2-3 grocery stores in ALL of Hancock County. Imagine your county operating with such minimal service. I've got 4 gas stations within 5 miles of my home - probably more. So think about it and then think about helping these folks.
So, this week has been mostly internet work. Not many phone calls, which will start up again this week.
Take care, if you have any good information to pass along, please do - I'll post it!

Who says you can't have a little fun doing serious work?

I sent out 2 boxes to the Humane Society of Southern MS (HSSM for those in the know). I have sent them boxes before, but this time I actually had something for the dogs. Tennis balls! I figured I could spare a few from the elementary school project and give them to some needy dogs. So, that box was labeled, "Attn Dogs". The other box was catnip bags I made from some 'nip I harvested last year. I felt like I was stuffing "dime bags" or something. That box - of course, was labeled, "Attn Cats". So hopefully they'll get a kick out of it. I sure did.

I was also able to acquire 38 pillow cases from a local cleaner - Bates Troy - for an art project at CBM Elementary (Pearlington). If you know of anywhere to get some more, they could use another 30 or so. I may call the university in hopes of hitting up some of the outgoing students for extras or whatever. Dorm life can make for good donations.

On the college note, 2 SUNY (State University of NY - aka Soonie) have contacted me re: posting the information to volunteer in Hancock County. So that would mean at least 4 are posting the information. Staying at my 10% return, which is way too cool! Plus, I have contacts at a bunch of the universities, so am able to get the information in through non-official lines. Life is good.

Doing my weekly search on grant possibilities, I found a couple more. I really hope folks are taking advantage of this information. Money is NOT easy to come by since so many are in such deep need. And grants tend to be a form of lottery, that the sooner you apply, the better your chances.

A temp. agency dealing with construction workers contacted me. He is very graciously offering to spread the word about the needs of the area. I would think those who aren't working at the moment would do this - it's tax deductible AND it could lead to a full time job. So many are finding this to be true.

There's a post on the www.KatrinaAdvocate.Blogspot.com site that you need to look at. It's called The Red File. I'm posting it because there's a saying in Emergency Services - don't become a victim. Those living in the Gulf Region, those helping in the Gulf Region and those who are at risk this year of major weather NEED to seriously consider creating a Red File. If you've protected yourself, you're far less likely to become a victim during a natural disaster, allowing resources to be used for those who truly need help. PLEASE - do it. www.TheRedFile.com

I've heard from one of my medical people about trouble in NOLA. It seems FEMA is threatening to pull out all tent cities that have, until now, housed the thousands of volunteers that are making clean-up and recovery possible in that city. FEMA has reconsidered and is at least leaving the tents up until June 1 - the official start of Hurricane Season. THAT makes sense. I wouldn't want the liability of having people in my tents during any hurricane or even tropical storm. But to pull out any earlier is foolish at best.

Beware other areas! - if they do this in NOLA, plan on them doing it in your area too - Pass Christian - listen up!

And finally, I received this email - I'll be doing some more research and getting the website's info up, but probably not until after the weekly Needs List. She and I still need to talk some so I can be far more comprehensive in what I post!


I was referred to your website/blog. I am amazed by your efforts and so very thankful for you. You are the perfect example of what I shout from every mountaintop....."One Person Can Make A Difference". Thank You.

We are Foundation Hope, Inc., a non-profit organization providing disaster relief to the residents of the MS Gulf Coast. This is my hometown. I have lived north of the coast in Hattiesburg for the last 11 years, but my mom, uncles, aunts, brothers, best friends, etc.... all still live on the coast.

I made my way with my friends Jessica Beane and Mike Smith, Jr. back to the coast via vehicle and ATV to start distributing supplies that my friends and relatives from across the country started sending to us. With the help of our friends at the Air McNair Foundation and The Brett Favre Fourward Foundations and the personal assistance of their volunteer-extrodinaire, Rick Maddox.....we started a POD (point of distribution). This turned into what is now known as Foundation Hope, Inc. Since, we have been granted a $5 million dollar In-Kind Donation from The People of Saudi Arabia to rebuild damaged homes....which we started Feb 13th, 2006.

There is a short synopsis of our efforts.....I would love to talk with you about what you are doing and how we can collaborate. "More hands make lighter work, Grandma told me!"

Thanks again Leslie and please contact me if you can,

--Patricia Bayles-Myrick Executive Director/Founder

Foundation Hope, Inc.
414 Hwy 90
Bay St. Louis, MS 39520

April 2
Spring has sprung and I'm loving life. The dizzies are so much better when I'm able to get outside and work. This indoor crap is for the birds.

Anyway, things here remain busy.* I've gotten all of the tennis balls requested by the Charles B Murphy Elementary, collected, punched, boxed and mailed! With any luck, they'll be getting the first 2 boxes early this week. I'll be continuing the collection of the tennis balls since there's serious rumors stating CBM is going to be merged with the other displaced elementary school and I would guess they'd be wanting the new chair feet as well. Thanks to my dad, Dave for going to the 2 places to collect said balls! And thanks to Marilyn W for her contribution of 50 from her daily walks!
4/4 update - the balls arrived and WOW are they happy!

The tennis balls are popped onto the feet of the chairs to make the quieter and to keep them from damaging the floors of the FEMA trailers since the trailers need to be returned in like new condition or face unspecified penalties. This is an easy, cheap and fast way to assure the floors are kept as pristine as possible.

* I've started putting out requests of fire companies to help the new "FEMA-villes", starting with Pearlington. These people need to learn basic fire suppression skills since there is so little in the way of organized protection. No buildings to house equipment and not nearly the trained volunteers back yet to staff a fire department makes these areas particularly vulnerable to the ravages of fires. And if 'normal' folk can learn how to do CPR and work a defibrillator by watching videos and doing an hour or so of hands on practice, I'm sure they can be taught the basics of working a fire extinguisher and the best way to fight the fire while staying safe in a similar fashion. Anyone want to take this challenge on?

* I started writing letters to culinary institutes in hopes of getting some kitchen relief for all the volunteer organizations that are trying to house and feed the multitude of volunteers coming in to help with the rebuilding. With any luck, some of these students and staff will make some trips down there and if nothing else, teach other volunteers the most efficient way to staff and work the kitchens. Efficiency is all!* This month, instead of making potholders, which I should, I'll be making teddy bears. Got a cute little pattern and have a ton of great fabric to make them with, so am making them to go with the quilts the Vestal United Methodist Women made to send down. It makes a great little Baby shower present for folks who have NOTHING.

* Have run out of postal money this month. LOL - I've sent a good number of boxes. The stuff inside was free, but postage isn't. So, I need to cut back a little. I could go bankrupt (like i'm not now) on sending boxes of stuff.If you want to help similarly (not by going bankrupt), watch your newspapers for church rummage sales (aka trash to treasure sales, bane and blessing sales, etc). Call them and ask if you can go through whatever didn't sell to send down to the Gulf Region. Then, make a bsic list of items that are needed from the lists I've provided and go hunt! It's actually a lot of fun and the stuff doesn't end up in the landfill and gets used! Just make sure it's CLEAN and WORKS before you send it.And as always, check the other 2 blogs -http://www.katrinaadvocate.blogspot.com/ for new entries - have added several and will add at least a couple more this week.
http://www.fullcirclequilting.blogspot.com/ - Same 2 quilts but hope to have another on within the next month.

There has been a host of other things that has happened over the course of the week, but this is enough reading for now.

Leslie Updates - March

March 19
Hello Folks.
For those NOT living in upstate NY during March, just let me tell you that it's cold one hour and hot the next. Just part of living in post glacial territory!

Much continues to occur.

More and more people are emailing me for guidance on how they can help! Woohoo! I swear it's the Spring air that is bringing out the best in people again. Winter was far too long and now people are back to their normal selves.

As I tell these people, once they understand the need is still great and still everywhere, they should focus their area to assist and then we can discuss needs lists. I contacted a gent named Craig at the Center For Prevention of Child Abuse and he stated they've done wonderfully! They've reopened their Bay St. Louis doors, and are just getting ready to reopen their Pascagoula doors (forgive me on spelling). A friend's donations from here in Vestal are what made the Pascagoula reopening possible. Way to go Daryl!

Anyway, Craig stated he had BOXES of childrens clothes that he had no clue what he was going to do with. I directed him to my 2 main child contacts in Hancock County - Jeanne and Amy. I am hoping the clothes are making their way from Biloxi to BSL/Waveland and Kiln/Pearlington. I'll keep you posted.

I'm getting back in touch with all my organizations that don't have updates on their websites in hopes of getting additional information - unfortunately, with it being Spring Break Season, they are probably up to their eyebrows in volunteers, trying to keep things working as smoothly as possible.

I also sent an email out to all the orgs re: some bug/pest control ideas from a site I like to use. http://www.campmor.com/ has the best prices for mossie control, etc. But please also check out http://www.rei.com/ and http://www.sierratradingpost.com/ for price comparisons. If you'd like the information, please email me at KatrinaCoaltion@aol.com

I figured out why Clayton stopped using his blog. He filled it up. I've done the same. I'm in the process of moving information to a new blog. One just for those like me, who can't get down there, but can help by writing letters, collecting stuff, telling others what to do. [grin] For those who don't know Clayton, his blog is what got my sister to light a fire under my butt and start this little crusade of mine. http://www.operationeden.blogspot.com/ if you want history with a flare.

As you'll see there are a ton of new entries. Read them all. They're all important. What one isn't, right?

But that's the way this goes, as I've found. It'll be quiet for a few weeks, and then a huge flurry of activity. Then quiet, then activity. So, sometimes you'll see tons of additions, and sometimes there won't really be anything new to add. But, I'll keep plugging away for those who are as caught up in this as I am.

I found a bunch of books for the school (off a very specific list) at a church rummage sale. They were going to be throwing these books out! I also found a crib that I'll be getting fully ready and sending down. Baby stuff is still so needed, so think about it.

My mom's getting into the act - telling everyone what 'we' are doing. They help by giving her ideas of places to go ask for stuff. Woo! So, we're getting there!

March 12
Well, I'm still waiting to hear from a couple of folks just back form Pearlington. I heard from one during the week while he was there, and was amazed at how things are nearly 7 months after the storm hit.

Was too dizzy to go to the local Home Show, so I have about 100 business cards with agency names and contact numbers on them. I'll just start handing them out until the cops come talk to me. And since I know most of them, I should be ok. LOL

Have started a new letter writing campaign - to universities within NYS. Public ones for now, will branch out to the private ones later. I want to try and capture the student market that didn't go down for Spring Break during Summer Break.

If you're interested in sending out the letter and poster, please email me at KatrinaCoalition@aol.com

Am also going to be writing to culinary institutes for volunteer opportunities at relief kitchens. It might help ease some burden and allow the students some very practical experience with very limited food supplies.

People down in the Gulf are seriously thinking about their gardens. Normally by now, they have blooms everywhere and there are precious few. So - if you have any seeds you would like to donate, you can start by sending them to the PearlMart- 6098 First Street, Pearlington MS 39556 (I think that's the right zip). Mail is sporadic at best, even with the agreement in place with the PO, so try UPS.

Had a great Friday - made a bunch of phone calls with all enthusiasm at the other end. I usually do have that reaction, but not always. So it feels good when it does happen. I have found a couple of sources for tennis balls for the feet of school chairs - those schools in FEMA trailers must return the trailers in "like" condition or face penalties. So, one way to do that is keep the chairs from scratching the floors by putting tennis ball "shoes" on them. If you'd like to help with the tennis ball drive for the school of your choice, call local high schools, community colleges and universities athletic departments. They are generally willing to give them up at semi-regular intervals - which I found out on Friday!

The tennis balls are almost finished for the Charles B Murphy school, but there are so many other school in need that you'll easily find one thrilled to take them!

March 12
Well, I'm still waiting to hear from a couple of folks just back form Pearlington. I heard from one during the week while he was there, and was amazed at how things are nearly 7 months after the storm hit.

Was too dizzy to go to the local Home Show, so I have about 100 business cards with agency names and contact numbers on them. I'll just start handing them out until the cops come talk to me. And since I know most of them, I should be ok. LOL

Have started a new letter writing campaign - to universities within NYS. Public ones for now, will branch out to the private ones later. I want to try and capture the student market that didn't go down for Spring Break during Summer Break. If you're interested in sending out the letter and poster, please email me at KatrinaCoalition@aol.com

Am also going to be writing to culinary institutes for volunteer opportunities at relief kitchens. It might help ease some burden and allow the students some very practical experience with very limited food supplies.

People down in the Gulf are seriously thinking about their gardens. Normally by now, they have blooms everywhere and there are precious few. So - if you have any seeds you would like to donate, you can start by sending them to the PearlMart- 6098 First Street, Pearlington MS 39556 (I think that's the right zip). Mail is sporadic at best, even with the agreement in place with the PO, so try UPS.

Had a great Friday - made a bunch of phone calls with all enthusiasm at the other end. I usually do have that reaction, but not always. So it feels good when it does happen. I have found a couple of sources for tennis balls for the feet of school chairs - those schools in FEMA trailers must return the trailers in "like" condition or face penalties. So, one way to do that is keep the chairs from scratching the floors by putting tennis ball "shoes" on them. If you'd like to help with the tennis ball drive for the school of your choice, call local high schools, community colleges and universities athletic departments. They are generally willing to give them up at semi-regular intervals - which I found out on Friday! I hope this last week has found you well, and as always, if you wish to help but don't know where to start, contact me.
Leslie - KatrinaCoalition@aol.com

March 6
This week has been far better, but no less overwhelming. It always feels as if I need to do more, I'm not doing enough, and how to get it all done in the time I have.

First - I am trying to locate a woman in my area that does photo restoration for Katrina victims. She was highlighted in our paper about 2 weeks ago, but of course, their archives don't go back that far with their new website format. When I have that information, I'll post it for those who might be interested. I didn't find her, but found the folks doing the work:

Second - I almost met 2 incredible men named Steve. I say almost because I had trouble with my vertigo and wasn't able to meet them at the Cracker Barrel. Rochester Steve and his daughter brought 7 bags of clothes fro Albany Steve with the Capitol District HFH to take with him to Pearlington. I know have to get Jeanne to pick them up and give to the family she has found who needs the stuff badly.

Third - a local school district - Chenango Valley - has been doing some great fund raising for Katrina Relief. I've emailed the superintendant to get the details, and again - the paper doesn't carry the story on their website because it was too small - but at least 2 teachers got their heads shaved for making the fund raising goal. How cool!
You can read about their work:

Fourth - am continuing to mail out letters to local churches in hopes of scaring up volunteers for construction and medical assistance. The return rate for interest is 10% that I hear about directly, so that's a good thing! You hope for a 2% return, so the Gods must be on my side!Fifth - our local Home Show is this weekend - will be making up business cards to hand to the vendors with information on how to help. Since the head of the home builders association is stalling on getting the info out, I'll do it myself. It's going to be deadly for me - too many people, too many noises, etc. - but it needs to be done.
I ended up not getting there. Just got too dizzy by the time my driver felt up to going. LOL That is life in my lane.

Sixth - Help! I need anyone who is considering volunteering or has volunteered to go down, has been down there to call their local and the national headquarters for Home Depot, Lowes, and any other home building type store to give classes on basics the volunteers are going to need now. How to properly install a toilet, an outlet, a light fixture, how to run wire, how to put a faucet in, how to use PVC pipe, etc. The days of unskilled labor are over. The need for slight and high skilled people is here and in a huge way. So please - make the calls. It would be great PR for these stores and a no cost PR opportunity as well.
You can also read about the letter I wrote and the reply I received from Home Depot. But still call your local HD and Lowes for assistance. Every little bit helps!

Seventh - my interview aired 3 times! Woo! But that doesn't warrant getting onto their website. If you want, contact http://www.wbng.com/ and ask them for it to be put on the website. It just might shame them into it. LOLI think that's it. 1 for every day of the week. Woof. Oh - Eighth - LOL - I'm back in potholder making mode. Once a month - needs to be done. 50 at a time. I send about 10 to each organization that houses and feeds people. I've made around 300 so far - I think. Anyway, life remains full of this work. And there's nothing I'd rather do. I thank God daily that I am able to do this and ask for the continued strength to do what needs to be done as the needs increase.
It never got onto their website, which pisses me off. I'm still trying to figure out how to make a CD of the file I need to make from the tape. I'll keep you posted.

Any time anyone wants to help - just let me know! There's no shortage of need for others to be advocates from a distance...

Updates From Leslie - Jan and Feb

February 25
Just a quick one.
I have been getting some of the best email lately! Life feels so good to have so many people think the blog is good AND from those who have been able to go down and help being so psyched that they are planning on going again.

I'm hoping to have updates from at least 2 of them in the very near future. The previous post - with the link to the pictures, is one of the people just back from the trip. She's done a great job with her photos - I just looked at every single one!

I just finished - and mailed out - 50 potholders to various organizations. It's a small thing, but WOW when you don't have good pot holders, the kitchen work is a real drag! So, they're each getting 8 or 9 - I don't remember. Will be making more this week.

Also just sent out 6 of the baby quilts from ABC Quilts. I believe their website is http://www.abcquilts.org/, but will double check when I can get IE working right.

And I also just sent 2 wall hangings for the Charles B. Murphy Elementary's library - half a trailer. I'll get a couple more done as soon as I get a couple more paying jobs out the door, but am pretty happy with the way they turned out.

And finally - I am being interviewed tomorrow (Sunday) with our local CBS affiliate for a tie in story on Pearlington and Hancock County. I'll add more about it after it happens. Wish me luck.

Sunday here.
Had the interview. It went very well! Mike is a great guy and if I could remember the videographer's name, I'd say he's cool too, but I don't remember it, sadly.

The whole thing took about a half hour, was edited down to about 2 minutes, got the point across far more effectively than I ever could and I'm dizzier than a dirvish from it all! If I find it on their website (http://www.wbng.com/), I'll post it for folks to see. I'm also hoping to send a tape or CD of it down for Pearlington folks to see that they are not forgotten.

But until my head slows down, I can't do my weekly update. Sorry folks.

I'll get to it Monday.
I just can't today.

February 17
Hey folks!
A lot has happened, a lot of new pictures and such, so I figured I needed to get this information up tonight.
I went to my parents' church and asked a group that makes "ugly quilts" if I could have 3-4 per month for babies in Hancock County as I heard of the need. They gave me a baker's dozen to start! 13 in all, plus 6 teddy bears and 8 hand made baby hats. I remain astounded at the generosity of Methodists! And as often as I need more, I can have them - as long as they have them made.

This is Jaspurr, my Quality Assurance Director. And yes, they've been washed since QA has been performed. What's that musical - Once Upon A Mattress?

Anyway, I'll be sending 6 out this coming week and will await further orders!

I feel so blessed!

Second - I got a note from a very nice gent named Paul who has been to Gulfport, Bay St. Louis and Pass Christian back in October. He's going again in March (from VA) and will be giving an update from there. He flattered me highly when he stated the blog was the most accurate he had found. And that's thanks to all the people I talk to! I couldn't be this accurate without the updates from volunteers, residents, etc. As you've seen, I rely very little on 'mass media' to tell the story.

Third - I've started sending letters out to some Baptist Churches in my area. There are 2 Baptist organizations in Hancock County that I know of, and so am hoping by focusing my requests to 2 or 3 agencies per demographic, it will help fascilitate a higher volunteer rate. I'll be posting the letters in the near future for folks to copy and send in their own neighborhoods.

Trust me, it works and it takes no time when someone else does the writing!Fourth - Great news! Hancock County is going to be scrutinized on CBS Evening News the week of February 20th! Part of it will be on the One House At A Time project, which is where I started this whole mess. I'll be able to put faces to the names of all the people I "know". Ronnie and Jake primarily.
I've not had the pleasure of meeting Buster yet.

So please watch! I believe it will be enlightening to see how little has happened with all that HAS happened. Drops in a bucket. But at least eventually, the bucket does fill. We're getting there!

And a final picture, taken by Ben Moore of the Kansas East UM Conference - If I remember correctly, it wasn't taken but a few weeks ago - note the condition of the tree, the debris, the roofs.

January 30
It's been a busy week for me.
I've finished a queen-size quilt in record time, established 2 new blogs (on AOL), found a website for schools affected the hurricane season, emailed all the schools listed within Hancock County's borders requesting needs lists, sent out requests for medical personnel, requests to Catholic schools for Catholic schools, and requests for 1 of the 4 remaining radio stations in the Gulf Region.

The 2 blogs on AOL are a brainstorm that leaves you feeling like an idiot - "Why didn't I think of that sooner?" But AOL is so self sufficient that most users don't go beyond it's "borders". I'm splitting the information on my http://www.katrinanetworking.blogspot.com/ one between http://journals.aol.com/onedndylyon/WaysToHelpHurricaneKatrinaVictim/ and http://journals.aol.com/katrinacoalition/KatrinaCoalition/

The Katrina Coalition one has the needs lists, while the Ways To Help one is just the different low-impact ways of helping. Please forward these to AOL users you know - just to get the word out. Thank you!

I have heard from 3 schools thus far and have posted their needs as best I can. I'm also trying to focus requests to the proper demographics to better assure a higher response rate. I think it's working! Eventually, I'll branch out to other counties/states, but for now, I'm busy enough with just Broome County.

The radio station found me - so I tidied up their letter, posted it and also sent it to B.U.'s radio station. Students, being what they are, haven't replied, but I'm not concerned. I have the rest of the SUNY system to tackle. The radio station is actually very cool. It's run by a couple, both of whom are disabled and lost EVERYTHING. They moved the station in with the Hancock County Emergency Operations Center to assist with communications and have ended up being a national model for assisting with disaster management. Equipment, however, is expensive and needs both upgrading and replacing in order to serve more folks in the affected region. Radio is still the only communication they have with the outside world in many parts. Phone, cable and internet are still rare commodities, but FEMA did hand out portable radios for people to better know what is going on in both the region and the world.

Oh - and one more thing. A friend of mine is seriously considering 'adopting' a teacher or family. If this is something you would like to do, please let me know at your earliest convenience. You can contact any of the organizations I have been in contact with and you can either work with one of their people directly or they can most likely point you toward someone in need.

Remember - all of the teachers, the students, the families, the firefighters, the police officers, the nurses, doctors, etc. have lost everything - so finding even just one person to help is both easy and needed.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

A Letter To Involve Culinary Students

This letter must be written very soon as the Spring Semester ends in mid May. I believe they also have classes through the summer, but have a few weeks off between each term. We need to sieze those moments!

You can locate a list, by state, of culinary schools at the following site:

I placed the logos of all the organizations I am assisting at the top similar to a letter head, and then placed my name and address. You may use any and all of this information in your letter...


To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing on behalf of the people in Hancock County, MS and the volunteer agencies assisting in the recovery effort.

While the Red Cross and Salvation Army continue to close their relief kitchens, the need for the citizens to be fed remains. The need is also great for the volunteer agencies feeding the thousands of volunteers that come to help every week.

With this in mind, the opportunities for your culinary students and staff to volunteer and make a significant impact in the lives of both the residents and volunteers are incredible.

I am willing to work with you and the agencies to make available internships for any students interested in real life experience to enhance their classroom studies. Most of the above listed agencies have established kitchens while the rest are working toward establishing kitchens for both volunteers and residents. If an internship is not an appealing option, the students and faculty can volunteer for as little as one week and as long as they wish to remain, having both room and board available for the duration of their stay.

If you are interested in helping, please contact me for a full list of agencies that would welcome you with open arms.

I thank you for your time and attention to this matter.


Letter To Involve College Students

You can obviously write this for any of the groups. I happen to have written for the One House project in hopes of getting some very enthusiastic people involved in the relief effort. You can leave my information there, but please take out Shannon's information since that is exclusively for the One House project. I have also made a poster which I can't get to post correctly on the blog. If you'd like it, contact me at the address below. This letter needs to be sent out NOW since the Spring semester will be ending by mid-May.

College Letter on Behalf of One House At A Time


Shannon Erwin 850-835-0067

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing on behalf of Hancock County, MS and the One House At A Time Project in Pearlington, MS.

While Pearlington was hit hardest by hurricane Katrina, the entire county has been devastated, with only 10% of businesses reopened and over 70% of all buildings destroyed.

I am requesting you call or email Shannon Erwin at the Walton County FL Habitat for Humanity to verify their One House At A Time project before you suggest students volunteer 1 or 2 weeks of their summer break to this incredible need.

Room is available with work toward a relief kitchen in Pearlington in order to give both room and board to all volunteers. Tools are also available through an Albany NY Habitat and other NYS Habitats. The goal is to make this as inexpensive as possible for all volunteers so their only expense is travel, which is tax deductible.

You may visit a number of websites to learn more about Pearlington, Hancock County, and the One House project, along with other volunteer agencies assisting in the rebuilding of Hancock County:
http://www.onehouseatatime.com/ - basic information regarding the OHAAT project
http://www.newhopeconstruction.org/ - the company making the housing kits for OHAAT
http://www.katrinanetworking.blogspot.com/ - A blog with many other agencies’ needs and addresses
http://www.baystlouis.us/ - created by a volunteer from VA
www.PatHolt.com/Pearlington - these pictures were taken at the end of February 2006 by a lady from Dutchess County NY.

You may also contact me with any questions or concerns regarding this request. I truly appreciate your time and attention to this very important matter.


Write To Major Airlines


I wrote these letters MONTHS ago. I received a letter from AA right away and just now received a letter from US Air. That cracks me up. Anyway, with the rising fuel costs and so many of them on the verge of bankrupcy, I doubt we'll get anywhere with possible discounts for volunteers to fly to the affected region. That doesn't mean DON'T write - it just means, don't expect miracles.

Major AirlinesAddresses:

US Airways
2345 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22227

Delta Airlines
1030 Delta Blvd
Atlanta GA 30320

American Airlines
PO Box 619612 MD 2400 CPII
DFW Airport, TX 76021

Please consider giving the people a small jpg of your logo from your website and to put the web address under their name when addressing this like a business letter. It will give a more professional appearance as well as make the companies recognize this isn't just another mass mailing effort.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing on behalf of all the volunteers working in Hancock County, MS as well as all of the volunteers participating in the relieve effort in the Gulf Region.

Please consider a 25% reduction in airfare for anyone traveling to the Gulf Region through either the New Orleans Airport (MSY) or the Gulfport/Biloxi Airport (GPT) for relief work.Travel can be limited to low volume days such as Tuesdays and Thursdays with a minimum stay of 5 days.

By doing this, you will be aiding the relief effort significantly while also improving flight volume on “off” days by filling seats that would otherwise remain empty. The goodwill you garner with this assistance will be immeasurable.

Please do not hesitate contacting me if you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. It means the world.


I received this email and wanted to share it with you. Use the email form she suggests for the best response:

April 5, 2006

Dear Ms. Holly:

We received your letter about discount tickets for volunteer work and were eager tosend you a reply as quickly as possible. Accordingly, I noticed the email addressincluded in your letter and I have taken the liberty of responding to youelectronically.

Thank you so much for your comments. We always appreciate hearing our customers'
perspective about any issue pertaining to our business and we are glad you took the time to share yours regarding the relief work along the Gulf coast.

Ms. Holly, it is a privilege to have your continued business. We'll look forward towelcoming you aboard soon.

I hope you don't mind that I've sent my response via email. Please continue to send us your comments through any communication channel that is most convenient for you. However, we'll get to your feedback faster and respond more quickly if you contact us again via http://www.aa.com/customerrelations .

Michelle R. Walden
Customer Relations
American Airlines

A Letter To Home Depot and Lowes

You may mail your letter to the following addresses:

Home Depot
2455 Paces Ferry Rd SE
Atlanta GA 30329-4024

1605 Curtis Bridge Rd
Wilkesboro, NC 28697

Please consider giving the people a small jpg of your logo from your website and to put the web address under their name when addressing this like a business letter. It will give a more professional appearance as well as make the companies recognize this isn't just another mass mailing effort.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing on behalf of all the volunteer agencies working in Hancock County MS.As you are aware, the need for volunteers is as great as ever. The skills needed are changing as the recovery effort evolves into the rebuilding phase.

The current skill set needed is in basic construction, which the vast majority of volunteers lack. I am asking that you advertise, and run either at regular intervals or on a by request basis, courses on skills that include:
Proper installation of a toilet
Wiring a light fixture
Wiring an outlet
Running wire for an electrician
Plumbing a faucet
Soldering copper pipe
Working with PVC pipe – both gluing and compression fittings

These simple skills, when offered to volunteer groups preparing to go into the Gulf Region, will greatly increase the efficiency of the relief effort.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, please do not hesitate contacting me at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.


As an aside, I did receive a post card from Home Depot. You can read the results on the Katrina Networking blog at:

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