Sunday, September 04, 2005

VOA in North Louisiana

An email from Volunteers of America in North Louisiana: ------------ ...Volunteers of America of North Louisiana has taken in refugees from the New Orleans affiliate as well as a group of VA hospital employees. They are all wonderful people in need right now... below is an update on those we are sheltering at the Volunteers of America Highland Center. We are additionally housing people in some of our other program sites around town. Many have arrived and more are on the way. We believe we will be housing close to 60 individuals for several weeks or months. Lisa Brandeburg Vice President of Communications and Development Volunteers of America of North Louisiana 318-221-2669 (office) 318-453-7622 (cell) www.voanorthla.org -- ...Downstairs we could provide for 25 persons total with a sitting area for them to use and a play area for any children. We have the resources to provide child care, Dress for Success to suit women, meals and general "social work" case management services. The VA hospital called us to request help. Many of their employees and their families were boated out of a flooded VA hospital in New Orleans and then bussed up to Alexandria and eventually to Shreveport. ...(as of 7:30 p.m. on Friday night) the evacuees... are safe. They are warm, kind and grateful. We currently have 18 people in our makeshift shelter with 4 more to join them this evening. These people stayed in the hospital in New Orleans until all of the patients were taken to other hospitals. They will now be working in our local VA and their family members will be looking for employment, housing and other needs in our area. There are several CNA's, RN's and other office workers. There is one woman that has been separated from her husband and is hoping to be able to contact him so he can come and stay with her as well. There is one RN with her husband, 2 year old son and both grandparents, the whole family together with us... Right now, our critical needs are taken care of at the Highland Center... We will need financial support to take care of them for the long haul until they can build a life here. Tonight, we elected a mayor (one of the evacuee's) to help show everyone around, we oriented them to the building, we planned meals for the weekend and a trip to the Boardwalk as well. We got the kids settled and purchased some clothing and shoes for them. We ate fried catfish made by Ms. Linda. I am happy to say that those we are serving are in clean, warm beds tonight. Their tummies are full and they know that for the near future, they have a place to call home, even if it is the Highland Center. They know that you all care for them and are willing to help. Immediate needs that we have right now are: • FEMA to come by and talk to the evacuee's and register their needs next week. • An appointment with an eye doctor for a senior citizen staying with us with an eye infection. • An appointment with an MD to get a medical history and prescription for a senior citizen staying with us that had fibromyaligia. (We believe this has been done) Thank you for your blessings. I have to say that having an evacuee tell you "thank you" is heartwarming. They are all grateful and we are just so glad to help! Brandy McNeill Highland Center, Shreveport 318-221-8404