<$BlogRSDUrl$> The Cyberactivist

Behind the scenes of the fight for the protection of animals and workers and the preservation of the environment - my experiences as a Tyson slaughterhouse hanger/killer turned activist. Exposing the evils of factory farming, by Virgil Butler. If you have arrived here looking for the Tyson stories, view the early archives. Some of them are now featured on the sidebar for easy searching.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Our Efforts to Help Katrina Victims 

I, Laura, her sister, and her mother are all working together with Laura's sister's husband, who is a nurse at Brentwood Hospital in Shreveport, and whose boss is already coordinated with the Red Cross rescue efforts. The hospital is already getting overwhelmed, and many of the people who work there (Laura's sister, Debbie, also has her husband volunteering his time at the Hirsch Coliseum after he gets off work to help the victims that are already overflowing the building).

For the past several days we have been coordinating help to those in need. We found that there were many people locally who wanted to help, but just didn't know how. They may not have had money, but they have things, but just didn't know how to get them to those in need. So, our family is stepping up to the plate to coordinate and deliver these things to those who need them the worst. I mean, can you imagine how it must be to escape with nothing but the clothes on your back, which are getting pretty raunchy by now? Can you imagine the heartbreak of being separated from your beloved animals? Can you imagine being given meat-based food and getting sick or starving? That's what many vegan people are facing, so we are stepping up to the plate once again to do some good deeds.

So, our first project involves collecting donations of clothing, personal hygiene items, and non-perishable food items, which we will deliver to Shreveport. If anyone from this area sees this post and has not seen the flyers we have been putting up around the Oden, Pencil Bluff and Pine Ridge areas, we have set up collection times of Monday 9/5/05 from 3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m., after speaking with the pastor at the 1st Baptist Church in Oden across from the school on Hwy 88. Debbie also sent home flyers with the kids in her son's class yesterday at Oden school and posted more at several local businesses, even talking with the mayor.

We made more copies and got one placed in the doctor's office where Laura goes for her meds since he sees people from this area. The man who owned the place we made the copies at didn't even charge us for them, even knowing we will be coming back to make more as we visit and coordinate with more local communities one by one, and we intend to write him a public thank you not only on this blog (which he will probably never see) but also in the local paper.

Our second collection time will be at 9/6/05 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Laura's mother's Tangled Acres Healing Touch Center in Pine Ridge right next to the Lum n' Abner store on Hwy 88.

After we see how much we can collect, we will decide how many vehicles and which ones will be making the trip and whether we will be pulling trailers. We are still having some minor problems with the truck, but are working on getting them fixed before the trip down there in case it is needed. Otherwise, Laura's mother's minivan will have the seats removed and stocked full, with the cartop carrier in place, and Debbie's small SUV will also be packed with as much stuff as possible. If that isn't enough, and we still don't have the truck up to par in time, then we will simply make two trips - one in the middle of the week, and another on the weekend. These will hardly be the only trip we make.

In addition to the items mentioned above, we will be taking down pet food and dishes for them to eat and drink out of and looking for vegetarians and/or vegans stranded with their animals there in Shreveport who would like to escape the shelter environment and rather camp out here on our beautiful and peaceful riverbank. As we have limited tents ourselves to put them in, those that already have their own or the means to purchase them will also be invited to come back with us in the otherwise empty vehicles, or we will simply foster the animals for these people as long as it takes.

We have contacted several of the animal organizations working on the rescue effort to let them know of our plans and offerings, but if you or someone you know is stuck down there and would rather be spending some peaceful time camping out on the riverbank with us, you and/or they are more than welcome to come. Just let is know before we leave. Bathroom, kitchen, and laundry access will be available. And, as we border the National Forest, there is plenty of room for people to spread out and have a semblance of privacy for their families, while still being able to have the comforts of home. We also have several different Coleman stoves and grills for those who would rather do that than come into the house to cook.

We will only be accepting small cash donations to help with the gas it will take to get down there, and all other monetary donations should be made out to the Louisiana Red Cross or local shelters if you want to help the victime stranded in Shreveport. If you use my PayPal account to help us with the gas or build animal enclosures for these people, or help the with whatever else they or thee animals need, let me know that this is what is is for. Looks like we may be expanding our chicken facilities sooner and faster than we thought, as most shelters won't take them, anyway. We can also accommodate dogs (only a few in separate pens if they don't get along well with others), plenty of cats, so-called "pocket pets," bunnies, snakes (Laura's family has over 25 years experience in caring for snakes, even though they no longer have any), and whatever other small animals we have room for as long as needed.

There will be several trips made, and we are planning on including Little Rock in at least one of them, as they are also taking in people and collecting supplies. Also, once we got in touch with the 1st Baptist Church in Oden, we found out that there are more people in the churches up here who would be willing to offer space for those not comfortable in our setting and more comfortable in theirs. We plan to include a sign-up sheet of those who are willing to take in people, animals, and the like, and what the conditions would be. We will attempt to match up those with the best fits. No one will be discriminated against, regardless of beliefs, race, gender, or sexual preference. All are welcome. That should go without saying, but I said it anyway to make sure there is no misunderstanding.

Although you have heard us discuss the tick problem here, they are NOT bad everywhere and as long as the animals have been treated with repellant, they will be fine. All of the rest of ours are, including the last little kitten we named Feisty. We can place people in areas where they are not a problem. We have three unused dog yards for those dogs that don't get along well with others and one of those chain-link kennels as well. There are two tents already set up, one of which would accommodate a family of four, and the other at least a couple of people, with maybe a small child, right here on our place. And, like I said, for those wanting more privacy, there are the whole woods to camp in, along with your companion animals.

Everyone will have free access to clean drinking water, a way to fix meals, and a way to do laundry and the like. Laura's mother is also an ICU nurse, so medical conditions can be taken care of on site for most problems. More serious ones will go to the hospital and be well taken care of.

Laura's sister, Debbie, has taken the main initiative on this one, since her husband is a nurse still living in Shreveport and is already coordinated with the Red Cross.

We will be making more than one trip also, so those that can't come the first time, can come the next time. We may even make two trips this week, depending on how much we gather. There has already been an outpouring of local support for this, which we believe will continue to grow (at least for a while), and our next community will probably be Mena to collect from (a much bigger community!). While the large organizations always encourage you to make your financial contributions to them, many of them get "put into the pot" for other emergencies and are not directly spent on helping people and animals NOW. All of these will.

So, even if you are not from this area and would like to help, just let me know. Or you can email me or Laura's sister at dkupermanATwildmail.com. If you would prefer to settle matters by phone or have any questions, you can call us - just shoot off an email for the number of who is likely to be home at that time. If mailing checks, then send them to me at General Delivery, Pine Ridge, AR 71966 with Katrina in the memo line or to 179 Little Hope Road, Oden, AR 71961 the same way. Our family will receive them either way.

Looks like our little sanctuary is about to get a lot biggera lot faster, as we are prepared to take in as many animals as we possibly can hold, especially those that the shelters cannot or will not hold, like the chickens and the snakes and such. And we really would love to be able to bring back veg*n people with us who share our values, would respect our place, and who could have their animal companions with them. If there is a large response, more pens can be thrown up quickly, just as we can rapidly expand the chicken facilities with others helping. And if there exists among you anyone with the knowledge and experience to help us finish our cabin, then you are welcome to stay in it as opposed to a tent, so we can take even more people in. We will forego moving in until after this disaster is over and stay in our little travel trailer while you can stay in our new cabin. We can even build the little one-room primitive cabins that Laura's mother's planned to build for her healing center and house even more. There really is not a set limit on how many we can take in at this time, especially if any of the ones arriving have any carpentry and/or construction skills. The lumber is here. It just needs putting up.

We may not have a lot in the way of money, but we do have plenty of room and very big hearts. And we will continue to make these trips as long as we can gather supplies and as long as people would rather enjoy camping out on the riverbank, going swimming and the like, eating veg*n meals and living with their animals as opposed to a dismal shelter existence for months on end.

The one thing that is for sure is that we will do everything humanly possible to help everyone interested in coming up here, human and non-human.

If you don't want to stay here and want other arrangements, we will refer to the sign-up sheets we will have at each gathering event to try and match up suitable situations. Many of the churches and members of their congregations will be opening their doors to those seeking a place to stay. Many of them will probably even be able to take in the larger farm animals that we can't take.

So, if you don't hear from me for a few days, I'm not ignoring you, we are just busy taking care of these problems and answering calls for help. If you write me about seeking shelter here in our woods, put "Katrina" in the subject line or call the above number to make arrangements. We will all help as many as is physically and logistically possible.

Laura's family knew several people affected by this, they have all been to New Orleans, one of them even living in the French Quarter for a while, so this is something that really hurt badly.

I don't want anyone to think that just because they are not vegans that we will not help them. That is not true. We will. It's just that we thought that people who share our values would be more comfortable here, would be uncomfortable with some of the donated food coming their way in the shelters, and also be more likely to have animals they would rather be with. And, usually these sorts of people are the kinds who will dig in and get things done, thus helping us to expand our ability to help even more people and animals.

So, this is a truly local movement, and every penny will go directly towards accomplishing this and helping these people get back on their feet. If you want to be a part of it, we would be glad to have your help. Just be sure and make a notation that the donation is for Katrina so that we do not put it with the other funding we already have gathered to start the expansion on the chicken facilities, even though they may end up being a part of all of this.

My message to those of you struck and stuck. Our hearts are with you, and we truly wish we could do more. But, if each and every community gives a little, we can all make a difference! Who needs to wait for the White House to get off their butts ad get things done? This type of an emergency is beat handled at the local level. And that is exactly as we will be handling it. The roll-up-your-sleeves and get it done Southern way!

Just as I was about to post this, I got a call tellig me that Polk and Montgomeray County were filling up with refugees loooking for a place to stay. Looks like we might not have to go as far as we thought to help people. We are about to contact DHS now. I will keep you all up-to-date as to the happenings. Boy! Things are never boring around here, now are they? More later...

Blessed Be---
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