Katrina relief effort comes to Avon | VailDaily.com

Katrina relief effort comes to Avon

Scott N. Miller
Special to the Daily

AVON ” Valisa Higman spent months in the center of a disaster. Now she wants to talk about it.

Higman and a few friends will host a slide show and presentation Thursday at Loaded Joe’s in Avon to talk about their experiences in and around New Orleans with the other members of Emergency Communities, a new nonprofit group dedicated to filling in gaps in relief efforts that aren’t covered by government or more established charities.

Higman, one of the co-founders of Emergency Communities, will bring a few friends to talk about their months-long expedition last year helping people hit by Hurricane Katrina.

A lot of the slides at Thursday’s presentation will be of the kitchens Emergency Communities set up. Others will be from places news cameras either didn’t reach, or stopped going to.

“There are no pictures of what it looks like now,” Higman said. “There’s still thousands of homes that can’t be used. Families have been split. And the largest oil spill on U.S. soil is in the St. Bernard Parish.”

Emergency Communities has started to get some money from United Way and a few other sources, but it began with people volunteering time or writing checks as they could.

“People who couldn’t go could donate,” Higman said.

Getting donations isn’t the whole point of Thursday’s presentation at Loaded Joe’s, but there will be some jars scattered around the room, Higman said.

Those donations will continue to go to Louisiana and Mississippi, because the need is still there.

The two Emergency Communities kitchens are still running on volunteer help, although they’ve had to make some changes over the months.

“We had to become hurricane safe,” Higman said.

But the work is still getting done, and volunteers are still needed. And, Higman said, Emergency Communities will accept help from just about anyone.

“We take kids as volunteers,” she said. “I think we’re the only group that does.”

Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or smiller@vaildaily.com.

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