On the Jan 12th Cosmo and EK traveled to Iowa to pick up an RV to drive down to a family in Buras, LA. Lisa and Michael H. from Cedar Rapids generously donated the RV. We first arrived in St.Bernard’s Parish on Jan 14th to team up with Mark Weiner, Emergency Communities. Emergency Communities is an amazing organization that formed after Katrina to first provide food to the survivors of one of the most devastated areas, New Orleans’s 9th Ward. Emergency Communities opened their “Made With Love Cafe and Grill” on December 2nd and does more than just simply serve food. Along with the Action Hero Network, they provide a much needed space and atmosphere for the community to come together and unwind. Their dining room not only serves hot healthy organic meals, but they also provide live music, and slideshow/video presentations for the public. Along with their kitchen, public computer stations, distribution center, rejuvenation station, volunteer crews, and lively atmosphere Emergency Communities has become a huge relief community center and has done an amazing job in contributing to the rejuvenation and rebuilding of this devastated community. Out of 65,000 residents, pre-Katrina, only about 8,000 have returned to St. Bernard Parish yet they continue to work with other organizations to make sure every family’s return to the parish is as safe, warm, and comfortable as humanly possible.
Check them out at-
www.emergencycommunities.org / Mark Weiner
www.actionheronetwork.net / Cory Richardson

Nice job guys, keep up the great work and we look forward to working together now and in the future.
(Pictures coming soon)

Working with EC and again thanks to the North Face we were able to distribute more warm jackets and clothing to the public.

A major need right now, so we can keep a steady flow of supplies rolling is, “box trucks”. Since on the gulf coast we have had to rent our trucks in order to feed the distribution sites. A 23 foot truck cost any where from $350-$500 a day. One of our goals is to raise money to buy a small fleet of 15-20ft box trucks. These trucks would be provided by CAN-DO as free service available to organizations in need of transportation for distribution purposes. Please, if anybody can help out with this contact us, this is a necessity throughout the gulf coast and with funding running low it would allow us to work more aggressively in getting supplies out to the public.

On January 17th CAN-DO was forced to consolidate and close our warehouse in Biloxi because the owner of the warehouse needed his space back. Soon, we will now be teaming up with Lend A Hand Organization and will be using their facility as a supply drop zone or staging area for the different Revitalization Centers and distribution points throughout the area.

Hancock County, MS:
Pearlington Recovery Center/Reynolds Center.
Pearlington is a small, devastated community, like many, that has seemed to be “forgotten” by the outside world. Only three homes out of 900 were left untouched, yet people are making their way back and remain completely abandoned by anyone in authority who could make a plan or give them any answers. “Not one store, school, bank, or gas station is in the process of returning and the people of Pearlington seem to live in limbo, not knowing when – or even if – their tiny community will return.”

“The Red Cross is gone now; no more meals are served. The Distribution Center, a symbol of something tangible in terms of relief seems to be struggling and about to close. When the Red Cross was pulling-out, the representative was asked why they were leaving. His response was, as follows: “Well, pretty much everyone has their FEMA trailers now, so they can cook for themselves.” There are very, very few jobs in Hancock County at all. Propane tanks power the heat and stove in the FEMA trailers. It costs approximately $22 to re-fill a tank. Families are running-through 2-4 tanks per week to feed their children and keep them warm. Conservatively, that’s almost $200/month for propane alone. That does not even factor-in electricity or food or other basic supplies. Yes, there is a stove in each and every FEMA trailer; but you must be able to afford the propane to power it and food to put in it. Many of the elderly just go without.”

Even in a small town like Pearlington, the politics are slowing the relief efforts. Fortunately, there are groups like The Baptist Church, The Presbyterians(PDA, Islamic Relief and a few other organizations still present in this small community.

CAN-DO is excited to be involved in the development of a community center in Pearlington. We only hope the politics do not prevent this project from going forward …we’ll keep you posted.

Check out the Pearlington Projects now in progress.

Plaquemines Parish, LA:
On January 19th we arrived in Buras, LA and dropped the RV. The distribution site has now grown from our three small tents to a small functioning community center. Thanks to World Shelters for providing us with two 20×10 World Shelter tents allowing us to set up a larger staging area to distribute supplies from.

Here hot meals are now provided and we are seeing more restaurant owners in the area rebuilding their shops. FEMA is also using this site as a drop point to get information out to the public.

Unfortunately, when we arrived in Buras, due to a small debris fire, Byron and Kelly, along with 4 of their neighbors, have now truly lost everything…

We continued down the road to Venice to check on our site, our friends and the tents we had set up 3 months prior for the fishermen…Surprisingly, 3 months later, with shrip season over, we still found people living here….as well as in meat lockers.

We met up with our friend Thoung KHB, who expressed his concern with how hard the fishermen of Venice are struggling to make end meet with the price of shrip so low and the cost for fule so high.

This was Thoung’s second time back to his home in over 4 months. He was lucky to get his boat back in the water but needs funding from the government to help with the cost to rebuild his engine. Thoung has a young son in the Service fighting over in Iraq…

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