“Our needs for volunteer help are as great as ever,” said Cathie Peterman, New Orleans director of volunteer services for Volunteers of America, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit organizations helping the Gulf Coast area. “So many people rushed here to help, following the disaster, but as the disaster stories dropped off the front page, the volunteer help has fallen off dramatically for all nonprofits working in the region.”
The affected area is still in the clean-up stage, and will be for some time to come, Peterman said. However, the organization is about to move into the rebuilding stage in some areas, which means it will need more skilled help than ever.
Volunteers of America is in particular need of carpenters, electricians, plumbers and other professional craftsmen. Many homes need to be entirely rebuilt. Unfortunately, many residents have received insufficient or no insurance money to help with the rebuilding. This is where electrical contractors can help. Homes need new wiring; lighting fixtures and appliances need to be replaced. There is a long list of issues only trained tradespeople can address. Although there has been a lot of activity in the Gulf Coast region, the public may fail to realize that it will take many years and multitudes of volunteers to effectively rebuild the entire area.
“Please don’t forget the people in this region,” Peterman said. “We still have a long way to go.”