Jessica of Su Good Sweets recently joined CulinaryCorps—a volunteer culinary outreach program—in New Orleans and recounted "one of the hardest yet most rewarding experiences" of her life in her blog. While restoring a walk-in refrigerator full of rotting food (including 200 pounds of spoiled chicken) and working with Emergency Communities, she was struck by the devastation that still remained in one of the city's poorest neighborhoods, the Lower Ninth Ward, two years after being hit by Hurricane Katrina:
Everything at Emergency Communities seemed hopeless, from the kitchen to the glassy-eyed residents who hobbled in for the meals. CulinaryCorps put in two days of hard work, but on-site volunteers are still working there for free. Twenty of them slept in a trailer a little larger than my one-bedroom apartment. They shared one outdoor shower converted from a Port-a-Potty. Two volunteers were “upgraded” to an abandoned house across the street. As the sun set, they sat on a dirty mattress, thankful for an extension cord that powered dim Christmas lights inside (their only source of electricity). No one should live like this, especially in America.
Jessica lists the many ways you can help by volunteering through an organization (currently most important), donating money or vacationing in New Orleans.