[StBernard] Letter: St. Bernard recovery is continuing

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Mon Aug 18 17:20:40 EDT 2008

As the third anniversary of hurricanes Katrina and Rita approaches, it is
time for an objective report about the recovery effort in the Gulf Coast.

I have been a full-time volunteer in St Bernard Parish since January 2006.
Today entire blocks of homes and businesses here remain empty and derelict.
There are no hospitals, and the population is still only about 40 percent of
what it was before the disaster. Yet the rate of child abuse in St. Bernard
Parish is up by 150 percent, compared with pre-Katrina values, and the rate
of elder abuse and neglect has risen by an incredible 335 percent.

I volunteer as executive director of the nonprofit Community Center of St.
Bernard, which serves residents caught up in the ongoing struggle to rebuild
their lives.

During January-June, we distributed 111,265 pounds of free food to 2,990
low-income residents. During the last quarter, we served 1,534 free hot
meals, made 601 referrals and distributed 5,592 fliers to help our clients
to find the specific services and resources they need. In June alone, our
public computer lab was used 580 times, and 116 applications for food stamps
were processed here.

And in just one recent week, we provided free clothes to 224 people.

These numbers are an eloquent testimony to the overwhelming need that still
exists in St. Bernard Parish three years after Katrina made landfall on Aug.
29, 2005.

For more information about the recovery effort and practical ways to help,
please visit http://www.ccstb.org.

Iray Nabatoff

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