On August 29th, 2005, Katrina, a storm of devastating proportions hit the Gulf Coast with a vengeance. While the media did an outstanding job documenting the event, none of the newspaper, T.V. or radio reports, could even begin to adequately describe the scope of what had happened. It was and still is shocking. The devastation from the storm was unprecedented. Over 73,000 sq miles were affected and 200 miles of continuous coastline was decimated.
I, like many others, wanted to do something immediately. Relief organizations were overwhelmed with people wanting to be involved, wanting to know what they could do. Phones started ringing off the hook, people started flooding the doors of the relief organizations and money started pouring in. Progress was being made.
Here we are 18 months later and the hurricane is "old" news, the phones aren’t ringing nearly as much and volunteer numbers are back to some what "normal". Unless you have been down there recently, or even at all, you may have the presumption that people of the Gulf are well on their way to recovery and that things should be somewhat back to normal. After all, this is America not some third world country. Right?
I wish that were the case. In my 12 trips to the area, the most recent being February 16 - 19, 2007, the showing of progress is painfully slow. As an advocate for helping people devastated by Katrina, it is becoming increasingly difficult to raise public awareness that our neighbors still need our help.
I invite you to revisit the thoughts and feelings that you had in the days following the storm. People of the Gulf still need our help.
I encourage you to volunteer for a trip whether it is with your friends, family, church group, etc. If you don’t know where to begin, contact me so that I can share information. The one thing that I can promise if you choose to be involved, is that you will never forget the experience. The smiles on the faces of the people you help will be priceless.Linda Edwards