Sorry I haven't given an update in while but, things are pretty much the same. We still haven't found temporary housing for the family and they are still living in the Cajundome. They are doing pretty good considering.
I just want to thank everyone again for their support and donations. We have raised nearly $4,000.00 in just 3 weeks! This doesn't include non cash donations and services which is probably close to another $1000.00 ! We still haven't closed the deal on the car but, that should be any day now. (The title is stuck somewhere in Tenn.).
Please continue forwarding the email because,it's still working. I got another $150.00 commitment just yesterday! I will also post this update on the blog.
An Email from Tanya
Hi Charleene, I checked out the web site for the wallace family relief efforts, you guys did a great job. I think everything is just fine and there's no need to make any changes. Tell everyone that we are very thankful for all that they have done, especially the kool-aide kids. Every effort thats been made to our cause is greatly appreciated. Things will never be the same for us, but you guys have made a world of a difference in our lives, May God bless you all and your families. It's wonderful to know that there are people who care.
Hope everyone read Tanya's email yesterday. She thanked everyone for their love and support. You can email her with words of encouragement at [email omitted].
The family is doing a little bit better emotionally, anyway. The kids are back in school (today) and Reginald applied for a job at the job fair. He is no longer working for Trend.
We were trying to transfer title on the vehicle yesterday but, the title is in Tennessee and it may not be until next week before we can get this transaction complete. After we purchase the vehicle and insurance I'll have approximately $1000 remaining. I'd like to get that number up to spread out amongst the family so please keep the email going. It's worked great so far.
No word yet from FEMA on the temporary housing situation. If anyone knows reliable information about when FEMA is bringing housing into Lafayette please email me back (or if you know of other housing availability). I am working with 2 associations for now trying to locate either temporary housing or a smaller more private shelter. My sister, Felicia works for Lafayette Bureau of Tourism and has been forwarding very good resources to me regarding housing and other types of resources. Thanks Sis!
The blog will be out as soon as I hear back from the family. We wanted their input as to whether or not to put the children's names and ages in there before we have it on the web.
Thanks again everyone!
An Email From Tanya
I received your e-mail today and all is well. I want to say thanks to you guys for all the love and support you all have showed to us during our hardships. I' m trying to get a cell phone so I can keep in touch with you and some other friends I've contacted over the past few days. Tell jeff and kahlynn I said hello, also we really enjoyed thoes homemade cookies, the oatmeal and raisen cookies were my favorite. Tell everyone that we really appreciate all that they have done. I can't thank you guys enough. E-Me when you get time.
A Thank You
Just wanted to thank Sostan Babineaux and the National T-Bucket Alliance for donating the new tennis shoes, backpack and other items for the Wallace Family. This was much needed since the children started school today.
For more information on the National T-Bucket Alliance, go here
Over $3,000 In Under A Week
UPDATE: We've received over $3,000.00 in committed donations to date! Thanks to everyone's generosity. That's not including donations of items in lieu of cash. Donations are coming in from Denver, Co to Covington, La. Jamie Waguespack's kids held a Kool Aid sale and raised $80.00 and the parent's said they would match that! Thanks kids! Naomi Maraist purchased toys, games and portable radios and baked 3 huge batches of cookies! Great! Kat Johnson and her aunt Lilly made the cutest blankets for all the kids and donated money as well, Awesome Kat!
Michelle deLaunay is networking to get clothes and a baby bed for the new baby along with bringing Reginald to work and making sure they have applied for all the benefits they're entitled to. She is also volunteering at the Cajundome in other areas in her spare time. Kudos to Michelle!
I think the family will probably end up staying in or around the Lafayette area. It's been an emotional roller coaster for them and now I think they will just stay close to home because they will want to go back to New Orleans or the surrounding area as soon as they are able.
We're going to try purchase the vehicle this week since we have enough money for the insurance now but, we need to get the insurance company to bind a policy for us. This may take some time since it's difficult for Reginald to get a hold of someone with his insurance to talk to.
Also, Jeff's daughter Rahlyn has created a blog for the Wallace family and it's awesome. That way everyone can view updates without having to be emailed. This will also eliminate future emails for those of you who may not want to receive any more information regarding this situation. She still has some tweaking to do before we can put it out there. But, you will be impressed once you see it! Thanks Rahlyn!
That's it for now and again please forward this info to all your family and friends. Thanks again to all of you have been so generous!
Tanya Wallace has been unable to locate several of her friends. If any of you pride yourself on your internet research skills and have a few minutes to spare, have at it. I spent a little bit of time trying to find Tanya's friends via the Red Cross site and a few others with no success, so help on this would be greatly appreciated. Here are the names:
Shauntika Baptise (It may be Baptiste)
Shelia Fields or Mason
Lee Ester Devold
Over $1,500 in 2 Days
Another update from Charlene on September 10...
Thanks to all who have donated! I have a little over $1500.00 in just 2 days! And more people have committed but I'm not sure how much. Keep it coming! I also had someone donate new shoes and backpacks for all the kids to start school with. They will begin on Monday.
The family has expressed a desire to move to Houston, where they have other family members and Jim Gossen has offered to employ Reginald there as a truck driver for his seafood company if we can find them housing there. Thanks Jim!
It's 12:30 AM and I couldn't sleep thinking about them. I searched craigslist in Houston and found a family who if you can believe it has a 4 bedroom home and will take in 15 family members who were victims of the Hurricane! So, I emailed them to get more details.
I'll keep you posted! And thanks again!
Things Progressed Quickly
This email was sent out one day after the original email on September 8:
Just to keep you posted on the Wallace Family we've already raised $340.00 in less than 24 hours! We may have found a vehicle for them too! The cost is $1,500.00 so hopefully we'll have enough money by the end of the week to buy it along with insurance. Also, Celeste is now working at the Cajundome! It's only temporary but, that's still good. She has the midnight shift so it's pretty hard to work at night and try to sleep during the day with all the noise.
Michelle has also found a Dr. who will give the children free counseling!
Thanks again everyone! Please forward this message to all those whom you forwarded the original email to.
How It All Started
On September 7, Charlene Gossen sent out the following email:
Dear Family and Friends,
While volunteering at the Cajundome shelter in Lafayette, LA we befriended the Wallace Family of 14. The family has, like most of the victims of Hurricane Katrina, lost everything. There are 6 adults and 8 children. Three of the adults are willing and able to work. Two of the adults are elderly and one is 5 months pregnant. When asked what I could do for them, their response was "help me find my wife and parents" which I am happy to report have been found and are now safe. The wife was reunited with her husband on Saturday at the Cajundome and the parents are still in a shelter in Baton Rouge. They desperately want to remain together. The family consists of the grandparents- Delores and Gregory; Reginald and his wife Lisa who is 5 months pregnant and their 2 children; Tanya a single mom with 2 children and Celeste a single mom with 5 children. The children range in age from 6 to 15.
My goal is to raise enough money to move them from the shelter into housing, purchase a vehicle so that they may seek employment and purchase the necessary items like food and clothes to sustain them for a time until they can become independent again. With the help of my good friend Michelle deLaunay she was able to find temporary employment for Reginald! He is the only male family member who can work. Michelle and her friend Patti and I are going to carpool to get him to and from work. Celeste was a cook and Tanya was a city bus driver but they are not limited to these skills. We are still seeking employment for them. We have so far purchased basic needs such as new undergarments, socks and tees for the entire family and given them some money. They are extremely appreciative.
If you would like your money to go directly to the aid of a family I can assure you it will. No amount is too small. I have opened an account with Iberiabank called the "Wallace Family Hurricane Relief Fund".
Please forward this email to those family and friends whom you think may want to contribute.
Any contribution you make will be greatly appreciated.