The BP oil spill is over, right? All is well in the Gulf now, right?
As Administrator of several oil spill groups on Facebook, I am all too aware that for many, the harsh reality of the oil spill is far from over. Although the media has moved on, our President has declared the area and its seafood "safe", those who live there tell a different story... Here is one such letter from Kindra, Jo and Vick, who are all part of a grassroots organization helping people in the Gulf:
I believe in the PEOPLE of America! I know, without a doubt that if many knew how bad things are in Coastal Louisiana they would come to the rescue. The bad news is that most do not know. The media has moved on to the next “big thing” and word just is not getting out about desperate the situation really is. The citizens of our country have not had the luxury of being given the full story. The small details that make up this crisis that so many are living with day in and day out. Small details like the 82 year old woman who depends on her commercial fishing grandsons for support - and who can not afford her medications, the family who washes the same school uniform every night for their children because they can only afford one uniform for each child, the family who has had every member of all 6 of them in the hospital at one time or another since May - from chemical exposure...
There are many details, and they all have a face. The rest of the country does not feel the isolation, the real despair, the depression, the daily battle of health issues, the fact that far too many can not feed their families, or see a Doctor when they really need to right now because so many are very ill from the chemicals they have been exposed to from the oil spill and dispersants (and STILL being exposed to daily). If they knew… they would help.
I have to believe that, or I would lose faith. They don’t feel the rough hands we hold in comfort that are calloused from years of hard work, hands that want nothing more than to go back to work and back to the life that they have always known - all they know and love. They have not felt the love of the hearts as big as the oil spill itself, as families in communities share what very little they have with each other - sometimes it means that two families can eat for one day instead of one family eating for two days - and yet they share.
They have not seen the grown men cry tears as salty as the gulf waters …big, plump, hopeless tears brought forth by not knowing how they will survive and how they will take care of their kids, how they will pay rent or keep the power on. They do not feel the very helplessness and hopelessness hanging thick in the air.
When men speak with love and affection of a culture and way of life and do so as if it is past tense and say that life simply is not worth living, does no one else see this as tragedy? When we have to chose who we can provide food to this week, who can have their prescription for much needed medication filled or who will go without - because we have so little funds, their pain, sadness and hunger becomes our own - it is the hardest part of this job that we do at CHSL.
Can you imagine being the last hope for someone to feed their family or get medicine and having to look them in the eye and tell them that you have no funds left? Funds are always low and the need is always high - its goes out as fast as it comes in, and sometimes faster. We have a waiting list, for food, for medication, for help in general. We have had to refer far too many people to the suicide crisis line at La Spirit in the past three months.
When children are ill and without proper medical care and Mothers are hiding their tears behind a smile to keep hope in the hearts of her children - does America not care, or do they simply not see? I chose to believe that we still live in a country where these things matter to us all, where our hearts go out to our fellow man - if we are given the liberty to see the story. The national and even local media has moved on, not allowing all of America to see the things we see daily.
There are still over 62% of legitimate claims not being paid (or have not ever paid one dollar) from BP. How many families can go months at a time with no income? I know my family could not go even one month. So many of us in this country live week to week. I believe in America, and am counting on the people of this country to step up now - no matter where they are and come to the rescue of the people of Coastal Louisiana who are hungry, sick, in pain, and feel hopeless right this very moment while you are reading this. I have faith that it will happen, and because the situation is so urgent on a daily basis I chose to believe that help will be on the way from everyone who reads this - because then they will know, and will search their hearts and come forth to do the right thing - right this very minute.
I trust in our people and while we all know that while BP is legally responsible for this mess, we know in our hearts that each and every one of us is morally responsible to end tragedy and suffering of our fellow man when we can. We can. No matter how tough things are where you are - you can help. Even if you stop what you are doing right now, put just one dollar in an envelope and mail it to us to help us help those in this situation - you can help. If you can spare $5, then please do. If you can buy a Visa gift card and send it, of any size please do, if you can write a check in any amount, please do, if you can collect food and ship it, please do!
Whatever YOU can do, please do it right now, please help us get some relief to so many good, hard working, tax paying, AMERICAN people who have been left without an income because of the Gulf oil spill and because our own Government agencies have not held BP to the fire to make it right. I can’t express how urgent this is! We have families living without electricity when our days and nights are 95 degrees, we have families who have and who are losing their homes, who can’t feed their children, who can’t see a Doctor or buy medicine. These are people who have never asked for help - people who are proud to take care of themselves, their families and each other.
I know if the rest of the country could spend one day with CHSL in these communities and see the faces of these people, and know what is happening, they would not allow such a thing to happen in this country. I believe in the good hearts and actions of all our people and I am letting you know that this is an S.O.S. for Coastal Louisiana. CHSL needs your help, we are a very small, all volunteer group based in Plaquemines Parish and serving all of Coastal Louisiana. Please consider helping! Now! No matter the size, please consider helping right this very moment!
You can mail gift cards or donations of ANY size to
Coastal Heritage Society of Louisiana
PO Box 297
Belle Chasse, La 70037
You can call me at (504) 330- 0846 if you have any questions or concerns at all. I will be more than happy to talk to you about the situation. In the meanwhile, please keep the people of all of the Gulf in your hearts and thoughts. Please let them know that they are not forgotten, as they feel they are now. You can also send notes or letters of encouragement to the same address if you like and we will deliver those along with any care packages we deliver. Please forward this to everyone you know, everyone on your face book account, everyone in your email account, print it out and post it up at work, plan a gift card or donation drive this week at work or just send in that one dollar - no matter the size, if we all help, it will all add up. Let’s begin to make a difference in what is going on right now, right this very minute. I have faith that it will happen - and I know what it means to the people who need it.
Jo, Kindra & Vick
Coastal Heritage Society of Louisiana