Want to volunteer? Can't seem to get affiliated with an organization? Maybe you're just impatient and feel you need to be there NOW? There is a
way.. People are dying and bureaucracy seems to be holding everyone back. Let me tell you a story...
I've spent the past week looking for any concievable route to get my sorry butt to New Orleans and/or the surrounding areas to help in the relief
and recovery. I sent out a dozen emails to FEMA registered relief organizations in an effort to become a volunteer. Yet, all I keep reading,
hearing, and encountering, is a massive wall of red tape, warnings, and do-not's. And not an inkling of hope.
But, alas, I finally found a way to get down there, and not be in the way.
Now, I severly suggest you do not attempt to go to the affected area's alone.
If you do, there are severe chances you will put yourself in
harms way, hamper relief efforts if you're hurt/stranded, or possibly die.
But there are several ways to help.. without being affiliated with a FEMA sponsored organization. First, you can gather a local group, and travel
down there... this was my initial plan.. but it fell through after people really started to think about it.
The second way, and the best way (other then affiliation), is to reach out via the internet.. get your name/email out there and ask for volunteers to
Late last night, I posted a classified on a local New Orleans website. I noticed that several thousand people were asking to help. Either by
volunteering, offering their homes for shelter, offering to make phone calls.. etc..
I left a post
announcing I was attempting to get people together for the cause. I
didn't think I'd recieve very many answers.. but it was worth a try..
Date: 2005-09-06, 3:13AM CDT
I've been sitting here, for 4 days now sending out a million emails and making just as many phone calls begging organizations to take me in so I can
help. Currently, not a single organization is willing to sponsor me. And yet.. all over the news I hear about how there's not enough help.
I say, the hell with them. I understand that FEMA is requesting that people don't just show up. I understand the situation down there. But I can't
sit idle anymore waiting for these organizations to get off there butts and decide to get with it.
I'm going. I will drive my butt down there and they're either going to affiliate me, or I'll do whatever I can by myself.
I'm currently looking for likeminded people. I know there's alot of us out there just begging to help. If we all go down there, we won't "hamper"
anything. If we stay together and work as a team we'll be helpful.
I strongly suggest you consider what you're going to bring. This will not be a walk in the park. Spend time to severly think this over.
If you're willing, and want to meet up, discuss, or organize this further, then drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I don't care where you're from. We can setup a city/location/time and we'll all meet there and we won't leave until everyone is present.
Let's make this happen.
In the morning, some 7 hours later, I woke up and checked my email hoping to have a golden response from one of the organizations I contacted begging
to volunteer. Instead, I woke up to 97 emails from people throughout the country in the same situation of helplessness as me. People ranging from
medical personal, fireman, EMT's, construction personal, heavy machinery operators, boat owners/operators, truck drivers, CDL drivers, and of
course, average joes like me..
Oh, that's not all.. People from Baton Rouge offered housing and food for my "support", people from Louisiana construction firms offered
bulldozers, chainsaws, someone offered 5,000 bottles of water, local churches offered shelter..
People contacted me regarding local conditions. Where we won't be allowed access and where we might be needed most.
I was also contacted by local affiliations (including the red cross) willing to train anyone I "recruit".
I jotted down emails, sent a flurry of emails back and started to gather information from everyone. I setup a spreadsheet of everyone's name,
location, supplies, and amount of money and time they were willing to spend.
We setup a date, location, and time to meet. We agreed to meet at night, allowing the late-comers to trickle in throughout the night.
I contacted the people offering shelter and support, and notified them of how many people I had coming. One local resident gave us permission to use
what's left of his land (8 acres) as a camp ground. I contacted everyone telling them to bring camping supplies.
My "Organization" quickly formed. Quite literally overnight. The only thing we don't have that the "Sponsored" organizations have is a free
ride. But there are hundreds of people throughout this country that have the means to get this done without a free ride.. and there are people out
there just begging to go..
If you're serious about going, I suggest you take the same route I took. If you don't want to organize it yourself, there are several other people
out there organizing like-minded efforts.. just look around!
We leave next wednesday. Most people are agreeing to stay for 2 weeks, some longer. Unfortunatly, due to the massive organization this took, I'm
not accepting any further volunteers -- We already have over 50
.. if you want to go.. I suggest starting your own drive.. it's miraculous!
Related News Links:
[edit on 9/6/2005 by QuietSoul]
[edit on 9-9-2005 by asala]