KatrinaAdvocate

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.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

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:
http://katrinanetworking.blogspot.com/2006/03/operation-photo-rescue.html

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:
http://katrinanetworking.blogspot.com/2006/03/chenango-valley-high-school-helping.html

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...

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