Day one is coming to a rapid close, and I must say that we have learned so much. We had a 12 hour crash and a slight panic from Paypal, but they saw what we were doing and actually expedited getting us up and running again!
Initially it was my understanding that we would be getting training and assignments from BP, but when I notified BP of our arrival they told me that I would be contacted when needed by volunteerlouisiana.gov, but when I talked with them 3 days ago, I was encouraged to come down. Today, if we didn't get a busy signal, we left messages or got an incredible runaround. Volunteer Louisiana won't even return our emails. While Matt and Chris were out filming and networking, I was on the phone with local churches trying to figure out where we can start working. Chris's blog goes into detail about how we encountered actual resistance from what looked like the most reputable volunteer organizations online. We found that the small-local agencies with so much more on their plates are far more equipped to deploy volunteers and respond to the overall devastation than the agencies responsible for spill response volunteers.
On one hand I get why the volunteer effort isn't mobilized yet, but on the other hand, I would like to see more preparation taking place. We're excited to get to work, and need to show you the beautiful area that is New Orleans and the surrounding parishes. Our plans include coverage from the beaches over 2 hours away from New Orleans, but hardest hit to date. Tomorrow we will be taking part in training offered by Hands On New Orleans Through this organization we will try to cover the work being done which includes:
St. Bernard needs volunteers on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:00am-2:00pm.
New Orleans East needs volunteers Monday-Friday from 9:00am-4:00pm who are either bilingual or interpreters of Vietnamese.
Lafitte needs volunteers on Mondays from 8:30am-3:00pm. Port Sulphur needs volunteers Monday-Friday from 8:30am-3:00pm.
If you're in the New Orleans area and want to volunteer for the oil spill response please get in touch with Hands On New Orleans, you should give them a call: 504-310-6978
Also, please get the word out about making a contribution. We have enough at this point to stay through Monday. We would like to stay on a rotating basis and have consistent coverage, but we can't do that without your support.
Counting My Blessings and Wishing You The Best,