Local Relief Efforts: Sending Supplies Out, Moving Families In

By: Natalie Swaby
By: Natalie Swaby

Tears rolls down Julie Kreuger's face as she re-counts a recent phone call,"he said it was pretty bad, he said there was dead bodies everywhere, and he can't find his seven year old daughter, but he thinks she is okay, but he hasn't talked to her."

Friends have been telling Kreuger their stories. She was able to leave her New Orleans home hours before the storm hit. Ever since she's been watching reports of rising waters, rescues, and what has become of her city.

"I am safe in Wisconsin," she says. "I need to do something for the people down there."

Her plan is to fill her truck with undergarments before making the drive back to Louisiana.

"Alexandria has 50,000 evacuees from New Orleans, so my goal right now is to have a 100,000 pair of underwear in my car to drive down with me."

And while her focus is on that specific need, a cleaning project is underway on Allied Drive as volunteers try to turn vacant apartments into housing for hurricane victims.

"I think everyone is overwhelmed and doesn't know where to start, this was a place to start," says volunteer Liz Dannenbaum.

As Lisa D'Amico scrubs the bathroom, she says, "I can't financially help too much, so I figured the least I can do is clean."

"All they need is somebody to come clean up, paint, get food, money, whatever we can, appliances," rattles off volunteer Donna Winter. "They need a lot of things out here, so whatever anybody can donate, I hope they will."

Organizing these efforts is Rita Adair.

"The thought of people living in the Houston Asterdome until December just breaks my heart," she says.

So Adair's plan is to move 20 families stuck in the relief shelters to Madison.

She is asking for cash donations. They are being accepted at Dane County Credit Union under the Katrina Disaster Fund. Also, if you are interested in volunteering, call Rita Adair at 608-217-2219.

If you want to donate undergarments you can mail them to Operation Underclothes at 3437 Masonic Drive, Alexandria, Louisiana 71301, or send an e-mail to operationunderclothes@yahoo.com

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