I arrived in Biloxi, MI and was, once again, blown away by the absolute destruction and once again, like Sri Lanka, shocked at the lack of urgency and deficiency of media attention and overall lack of coverage. After a month of remaining patient and optimistic, the victims of Hurricane Katrina and Rita grow desperate as the rest of us watch news reports of bureaucracy, greed, irresponsible reporting and these prolonged discussions over common sense problems that are not being resolved because of obvious RED TAPE. The media needs to shift their coverage to the priorities and needs of the people and not let this growing tragedy fade from the headlines, which is “their customary practice”. There also should be a stronger proactive approach by the “decision makers” in our country to step up. Everyday we are seeing thousands of desperate people living in such horrendous conditions that grow worse by the day. I drive around and can’t believe that the United States citizens are being so neglected.

A major problem we are seeing more of everyday, is truckloads of supplies being literally dumped on street corners due to the lack of storage facilities. That is not to say that there is not an abundance of storage facilities everywhere you look, but the amount of red tape that one needs to endure in order to simply generate any kind of resolution, is ridiculous. There is no excuse for clothes, toy, supplies, etc, to be simply dumped in the streets. One of CAN-DO’s goal is to allocate property so we can store large amounts of supplies that we, along with other organizations can store and log these items by using a registration procedure to distribute them responsibly and efficiently.

*What happens when communications break down…

In the wake of this tragedy many organizations are stepping up. Whoopi Goldberg’s organization, The Mississippi Rising Foundation, has proven to be extremely effective wasting no time in coming to Mississippi. The Mississippi Rising Telethon aired on September 26th and did a fantastic job in capturing the sprit of the people of Mississippi. To show how people can make a real difference, Whoopi and her crew were invited into people’s homes and respectively interviewed victims of Hurricane Katrina, giving people a dramatic and first hand look into how these people are barely surviving. While in Biloxi, Mississippi Rising, with the help of The WEL Foundation and the generous folks at North Face, were once again able to organize a much needed distribution of tents, sleeping bags, and backpacks to hundreds of needy victims of Katrina. “Keep it up WG”

I was also impressed with the group of guys from The WEL Foundation. They, not only came in and purchased over a thousand tents, two thousand sleeping bags, and distributed them, but had a condemned “soup” kitchen, The House of Loaves, up and running within 24 hours. This was not an easy task. With temperatures rising over a hundred degrees, these guys repaired all the windows, installed reinforced metal doors, reinstalled a brand new electrical system, and gutted and cleaned the mold. The House of Loaves is back on its feet. These guys got it done! Nice job!

Ps…Rita say’s “Hello”

In the wake of all the devastation, another group we are beginning to form a strong alliance with is the East Biloxi Coordination Relief Center. This center, made up of Oxfam, Urban Life Ministries, Starfish, Hands on USA, IRD, Islamic Relief and CAN-DO is dedicated to gathering and distrubuting information to the community as well as relief organizations. Additionally, we are excited by the tireless involvement of hands-on City Councilman, Bill Stallworth; a constant presence in his community.


On Sept. 29th I had the honor of meeting the first lady of Mississippi, Mrs. Marsha Barbour . What a cool lady! She is very kind and generous. After our meeting I asked Mrs. Barbour about a location CAN-DO wants to set up as a shelter/community center (see proposal entry below). She could not have been more enthusiastic and attentive to the needs of the people. With the help from the First Lady and a GREAT guy by the name of Bill Web (Manager of the Gulf Coast Regional Office of The Mississippi Development Authority) we approached the Mayor of Biloxi, A.J. Holloway, with our proposal for a Center for Community Revitalization. We outlined for him the potential rehabilitation of a local facility, previously slated for demolition. Our elected location is large enough to include facilities for healthcare, housing, recreation and access to registration for local and federal assistance. Encouraged by our proposal, Mayor Holloway granted us the use of our preferred space in the belief that we can work together to ensure that his communities dire needs are met. We continued our work fulfilling the immediate needs of the community, while getting started on the Center. We look forward to working with the great people of Mississippi and with Mayor A.J. Holloway. Thank you…

Bottom line: There are hundreds of thousands of people displaced, homeless, and getting sick due to their living conditions. These people are worried about their futures, their health, etc. We need to take a serious look at the magnitude of the disaster and come up with a quick and effective solution NOW to help these people. We will be getting into the rainy season in the next month, and temperatures are already beginning to drop. We can’t afford to be held up by useless policies that are, obviously, ineffective and waiting for others to make a decision or give us “permission” to help people that CLEARLY need it.

We (CAN-DO) will remain patient and continue to push our way forward, compassionately, responsibly, and effectively in our relief efforts, and with the help of others who feel the same, together we will not wait until the last minute as the “decision makers” slowly decide the fate of these people.

Also, to the organizations out there that feel this is a competition between organizations and who continue to undermine worthwhile and productive projects- “WISE UP…”

A phrase that is getting tossed around here a lot is….

“Ask for forgiveness later, then permission now…”

We will keep you posted…


Below are stories and images that we have seen along the way….


P.S. ~ CAN-DO is in the process of setting up a Halloween Party for the kids, which we are also, currently, working on

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