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Is this a crazy idea?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
The whole situation in New Orleans and the surrounding areas has been weighing heavy on my mind and I'm feeling the need to do more than pray and send money.

I'm thinking about volunteering to go there and somehow help in the relief effort. Does this sound crazy? I have some connections there through nuns that I know and could probably stay with them and assist in whatever they're doing. I couldn't be away from work for more than a couple of weeks, though. I feel so strongly about this and just can't get the images of all the suffering and devastation off my mind. Something (or someone) is telling me this is something I may need to do.

I'll have some time to think and pray about it over the weekend. I'd appreciate knowing what you guys think.
post #2 of 21
If God has burdened your heart to the extent you feel you must go then you must go. I would advise great amounts of caution on your part. I wouldn't go until the situation is under control and your safety can be assured. Talk to your connections and start developing a plan.

Of course, it could be that your help would be needed at one of the refugee sites. My Mother told me this morning that there are 400 refugees in Bastrop, Louisiana. That's where they live. It is up near the Arkansas state line. I'm sure there are many, many small communities in the south whos populations have swelled and will have trouble coping.
post #3 of 21
I also agree...and I think it's a good idea. They probably need people there helping right now more than money.
post #4 of 21
I agree too. So long as you are going to be safe, then you must follow your heart
post #5 of 21
Is wanting to help others in dire need crazy? Absolutely not and I think it shows what a wonderful and compassionate person you are .
If you do go, make sure you find out which routes are safe to take ahead of time- so many major roads are closed. God bless; you're being called to do a beautiful thing .
post #6 of 21
May I suggest that you check with some of the rescue organizations and find out what they need? If you have some special skills, they may be more than happy, for your hands-on assistance.

Remember, YOU will need food, water and shelter. If you do go, take whatever you are going to require, for your personal needs. I would be concerned about your safety, too.
post #7 of 21
I understand your need to help, it would be weird if we didn't feel these things.

Remember that it's the helpers that keep the world moving around and it's the helping that keep us sane.

Good luck and be safe.
post #8 of 21
If you feel you can help, then it is a great idea. BUT only go if you can be part of a recognised organisation that is helping already and has a definite task. A friend of mine went to Sri Lanka (with an international aid organisation) to help organise things after the Tsunami and the rescue effort was hindered, not helped, by hundreds of well meaning volunteers who got in the way, didn't really know what they were doing, and had themselves to be fed and sheltered and on occasion extricated from danger. Not trying to discourage you - but don't become part of the problem. If the nuns can help you find a good task there, then that would be great, but get it sorted out before you go what your role is to be and who you will be responsible to.
post #9 of 21
I live in Lafayette, about an hour and a half away from New Orleans. My advice is if you want to help, call the Red Cross and find out where you are needed. I do not think actually going into New Orleans is a very good idea - they are shooting, beating and raping people. I do not think that the national news is getting the entire story, only our area. The crimes are escalating in the surrounding areas aw well.

I'm only telling you this so that you can make an educated decision. I believe that if you would like to help, you will probably do more good at a shelter say in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles or even Houston.

I do admire your desire to help but please keep your health and safety first and call to find out where you are needed.

I would offer my home to you but I have 3 elderly family members here from NO that have lost everything.

Please stay safe!
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback and support, everybody.

I agree, I definitely need to be into contact with a group there and have some kind of plan in place before going. I discussed this with my boss who is very supportive of the idea, provided I'm willing to take along my notebook, camera and file some stories when I can. She's also offered to contact some people she knows with the Catholic press in the area to see if I can stay with them. I'll be happy to file some stories because it is my job, but that's not why I'm feeling compelled to go and my boss needs to understand that. I'm a pretty religious person and I firmly believe God has ways of leading us to the things we must do. That's what I'm feeling about this.

There's a lot I need to sort out before making any decisions. My first priority is arranging for someone to care for the cats. I also need to talk to my family to see how they feel about it. The nuns that I know are in Baton Rouge. They were okay on Mon., but nobody from here has been in contact with them since.
post #11 of 21
In Baton Rouge there is a temporary animal shelter: LA VA Med Assoc. If you go to the sos forum a lady has a blog posted and there are phone #s for this shelter.
I'm working on some things up here too so I know your feelings.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emma's Friend
If God has burdened your heart to the extent you feel you must go then you must go.
.....great Advice Amie! ....
Quote:
Originally Posted by yangdemei
Good luck and be safe.
And ...
Dear Eileen, whatever you do I´ll be hear to listen to you! ....Good Luck!
post #13 of 21
I think you should follow your heart on this..but as everyone has said, be safe, get in touch with a recognized group that says they can use you, so you can be with some organization.
post #14 of 21
In addition to the violence potential, bear in mind that the floodwaters are a biohazard: cholera, typhus, hepatitis, e. coli and a host of other nasty bugs are swimming around in it. Military personnel and professional rescue workers are vaccinated, for the first three but, the civilian population generally isn't. If you DO go, at least make sure that your tetanus vaccination is current. If you haven't had a tetanus shot, within the last 7-10 years - get one.
post #15 of 21
My heart and prayers will be with you. Thank you.
post #16 of 21
Do what you feel is right but as everyone else has said please think of your own safety first.
post #17 of 21
Follow your heart! My brother is also seeing if he can be a volunteer.

God bless you!
post #18 of 21
I know that here, the American Red Cross is telling people that they wish they would not go, no matter how badly they want to do so. They are worried that people who go without the proper resources will become a part of the problem, despite their good intentions.

I do think that if you associate with a reknowned group, you may be able to directly volunteer with them in Louisiana. Otherwise, what they are telling civilians here is to donate monetarily.

Best of luck to you, whatever you decide. My thoughts are with you. Be safe.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
No decisions yet, but I did find out this weekend that one of the nuns I know works in Shreveport and has requested assistance there in the schools and shelters that have taken in some of the people from the harder hit areas. I'm hoping to make contact with her this week.

Thanks again for all the support. It means so much to me!
post #20 of 21
I saw on the news that the government are asking for volunteers through the dept of Homeland Security website. there is a number you call and they match up your skills and experience with what they need.
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emma's Friend
If God has burdened your heart to the extent you feel you must go then you must go. I would advise great amounts of caution on your part. I wouldn't go until the situation is under control and your safety can be assured. Talk to your connections and start developing a plan.

Of course, it could be that your help would be needed at one of the refugee sites. My Mother told me this morning that there are 400 refugees in Bastrop, Louisiana. That's where they live. It is up near the Arkansas state line. I'm sure there are many, many small communities in the south whos populations have swelled and will have trouble coping.


Well said Amy!!
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