TBR was out in force Saturday, with teams spread out across the metro area helping people clear and gut their homes. We worked at 16 homes in zip codes 70805, 70807, 70811, 70812, 70814 and 70815!
Sign up here to volunteer -- clearing homes, making phone calls, doing data entry.
We've been getting quite a few individual donations lately, far more than ever before. We're honored by that, and we want people to know what we're doing with the resources they're entrusting to us. So here's a summary of what TBR has been doing on the recovery this last week.
#1) We have more than 1300 responses on the flood damage survey 5 days after launching it at LAfloodsurvey.com. This gives us a way to understand what is happening with people who have been displaced, especially the 95% of people who are *not* in shelters, but about which next to nothing was known prior to the survey.
#2) Last week, we called about 700 people who responded to the survey, to check in with them, see if there were any urgent mental health or other referalls and discuss people's needs. 3 goals here: a) to meet a few of those needs directly, b) to have people's lived experience inform the recovery and the policy that are coming and c) (perhaps most of all) to simply make human contact with people who are isolated and often in quite serious distress.
3) We've placed Amazon orders for 477 people for immediate needs, with about 365 or so additional requests verified and legitimated. We're funding that entirely from online donations, and it will continue if more contributions continue to come in.
4) From Thursday's calls, we realized that people's top priority was clean out homes before the mold takes over. With 18 hours of lead time, we organized our first volunteer house-gutting operation, which we called "Gut Check Saturday," which happened this morning. About 160 TBR volunteers took part, partnering with about 200 flood-damaged homeowners (with close to double that signing up online).
We formed volunteer teams, which deployed to around 40 homes. The people who didn't get volunteers today were put on a list we've sent to a non-profit entity that is contracting with professional contracting services for free gutting starting next week.
5) We've created an online list of recovery resources here. If there are other resources or info that's important and reliable that ought to be there, please let us know in the comments and we'll add it.
6) Finally, we've created a one-page Volunteer Guide for house clearing and gutting, which covers everything people need to know. That can be downloaded at here.
Thank you for your belief in what we're doing. You can donate here to allow us to do more of it.
Together Baton Rouge launched a survey yesterday at LAfloodsurvey.com to assess people's flood damage and immediate needs.
The responses we've received have been overwhelming, including major immediate needs for clothes, underwear/ bras, bottles, food, bedding/blow-up mattresses, medicine, water, etc.
One important stat -- 98% of people who responded to the survey are *not* staying in shelters. They're on couches and floors of friends or family, in hotels. In other words, they're dispersed and not receiving many of the resources that are being donated, which (appropriately) are going mostly to shelters.
We've determined that the fastest, most effective way to meet these immediate needs is also the most simple -- to put in Amazon Prime orders for basic necessities, which will be delivered directly to people the next day. (We have people's evacuated addresses from the survey.)
We need three things in the immediate future to make this work. Any help or suggestions you may have around these would be much appreciated.
#1) Donations: You can make donations to this effort at https://togetherbr.nationbuilder.com/donate.
We started putting in Amazon orders today. We'll keep at it until we run out of money.
Need #2) Volunteers at the TBR office this week to call and follow-up with people who responded to the survey
The link to the survey is LAfloodsurvey.com. If you haven't already, please send that link to everyone you know with damage, especially people who have immediate needs.
People don't have to live in Baton Rouge to respond. They can live anywhere in Louisiana. Amazon delivers.
If you know of funders or other resources to support this effort, we're interested. Please let us know.
Here are a few samples responses so you get a sense of the scale of what we're facing:
Comments: I am 73 years old and this has taken a mental and physical effect . I have 1 kidney...blind in 1 eye...heart issues...I am literally HOMELESS....PLEASE HELP ME...I ALSO LOST MY JOB...AND JOB BUILDING WAS DESTROYED.
Immediate needs: Clothes size ...Women 14, Shoes. Size 5.5, Diabetes machine, Diabetic strips, Diabetic needles, Diabetic pin, All furniture and appliances (lost everything in home)
Comments: Please Help me with assistance... God Bless Us All. FEEL SO ALONE THROUGH THIS DISASTER, I KNOW I HAVE GOD BUT ITS SO HARD ALONE... NO FAMILY TO HELP ME AND REALLY DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO, CAN'T STOP CRYING AND STAY PRAYING.
Immediate needs: Need assistance with food, dogfood, money for bills &; household items...