Filed Under:  Local, News

Community, neighbors come together to in recovery efforts

10th September 2012   ·   0 Comments

By Zoe Sullivan
Contributing Writer

Local individuals and organizations have been busy helping with relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Isaac. Some initiatives stem from ongoing community work. Examples of this include those of Community Kitchen, which serves free meals on a weekly basis, and MQVN Community Development Corporation (MQVN CDC), which has been supporting the Vietnamese community in New Orleans East with disaster and community development issues since Katrina. But others relief projects have come from the good will of individuals. Adam Lambert, of Algiers, and his Tennessee-based brother, Eric, are collaborating with The Lord’s Child, a faith-based group focused on helping children in Appalachia and other low-income areas of the world.

Khai Nguyen of MQVN CDC told The Louisiana Weekly that one of the primary challenges facing New Orleans East residents is the distance to the disaster food stamp application station. “A lot of people don’t have cars,” Nguyen said in a phone interview. “We’re trying to get a bus to go out there.” While people can apply for the disaster food stamps online, if Internet access is not available, they must go to the UNO Lakefront Arena.

Asked whether he felt the government response to the storm’s aftermath was adequate, Nguyen replied that “people can always use more.” He reiterated the transportation issue in relation to those who need to file FEMA claims, and critiqued the agency saying that it “hasn’t really come up with any concrete relief plan.”

“I live in the 7th Ward in an area that didn’t have power for six days,” Nico Krebill of Community Kitchen told The Louisiana Weekly. Knowing that this meant that people wouldn’t have any fresh food, Krebill and his organization took action.

“Community Kitchen did a handful of produce distributions…We just drove around with a truck and gave produce to our neighbors and made sure that they had especially fruit and fresh produce that they could eat.” Krebill explained that part of the distribution strategy was to follow the national guard trucks distributing MREs (Meals Ready to Eat).

On the West Bank, Adam Lambert, who is running for office as the Clerk of Court, asked those who were volunteering on his campaign if they would be willing to help unload a truck, full of water and other supplies, from Tennessee. The truck, which arrived in Algiers on the morning of the 7th, is the first of two such shipments that Lambert expects. The aid included water, diapers, peanut butter, granola bars, and other food and baby items.

“This is something that we could do to re-supply these food banks,” Lambert told The Louisiana Weekly. “I know that all these food banks are wiped out. Y’know, people need these supplies and they need them immediately. There’s no point to wait for anybody else. We might as well just do it ourselves.” Lambert himself went without power, like many Algiers residents, for over a week.

Lambert evacuated to Ten­nessee during Katrina, and said that he knew that if he and his brother organized a way for others to help after Isaac, people would respond. He explained that the supplies would be divided between Algiers and Braithwaite, where the levees were overtopped during the storm.

This article was originally published in the September 10, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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