Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Help Pearlington Mississippi

Pearlington Living, September 2005. Bedrooms on the left, kitchen in the middle, living room on the right, bathroom out back, in the woods. That's my mom kneeling on the right, trying to comfort one of the ladies.

Been camping? What's the longest you've ever roughed it? Two days? Three? Five? Living in a tent, exposed to the elements, your grooming slowly falling apart, making you look more crazy, more primal, each day.

Many people in Pearlington, Mississippi have been roughing it for 51 days now. 51 days. The first Gulf War was fought and won in less time. We flew men to the moon and returned them to Earth in less time.

Many of the church groups who had been coming through and helping are now gone. Americorps is there. But most of the people who are helping now, they're just regular individuals, like you and me. They're helping distribute aid when it comes in. They're helping people clear trees, in case the mythical FEMA trailers ever show up. Here's what's needed in Pearlington right now, as of today, 51 days later: (read more after the jump)

--Food, non-perishable. MREs are still available, but they're worried that could end soon and want to begin stocking up for the winter. They particularly need hearty meals, like stews. They're working hard all day, and need a lot of protein.
--Packaged socks and underwear (all sizes)
--Daily toiletries, like deodorant, shaving cream and razors, and soap (including laundry soap)
--Daily staples like coffee, sugar, salt, pepper
--Towels, all sizes
--Trash bags
--Paper towels and toilet paper
--Cleaning supplies
--Work gloves
--Chain saws
--Rakes, shovels, and yard tools
--Volunteers, volunteers, volunteers. They have a big tent set up for you. Don't go to Disneyland. Go to Katrinaland. It's the vacation you'll never forget, I guarantee.

Send items UPS or Fedex, not by mail, because this is what the Pearlington Post Office looks like.

So, again, it's just us, people. You and me. If you want to help out, send stuff (or yourself) here:

Charles Murphy Elementary School
c/o Operation Eden
6096 1st Street
Pearlington MS 39572

Thank you.

Update: A few people have told me they've had problems with Fedex not delivering packages they sent, and suggest sticking with UPS. Aside from knowing that the Post Office is useless, I can't confirm anything about Fedex or UPS. It seems hit or miss, many Fedex packages get in, others don't. But, I haven't (yet) heard any complaints about UPS, so maybe they're the safest bet right now.


Adrienne said...

Thank you Clayton! With your permission, I'd like to post this picture with today's blog on a bulletin board at work. I will keep telling everyone I know about Pearlington, until your people have what they need to get on with their lives. Thank you for jolting us on a daily basis. I check your blog every day.

emily said...

I'd like to recommend UPS. After 10 days in no-man's land my Fedex package arrived on my doorstep with a sticker saying it couldn't make it to Pearlington because of "the hurricanes." I had previously spoken to 3 people at Fedex, all of whom assured me there was no problem with the Pearlington zip code. So, not sure what happend and hope it was just a fluke. But still, I'd say go UPS.

kikkokatty2433 said...

You people have some set up there. I don't know if I could live through all of that and have a right mind when it was all over. You people have courage. Keep up the courage.

Crack Head said...

I wanna remind people, it might be easier to buy these items online and have them ship directly instead of trying to get UPS to pick up these from you. You can use http://froogle.google.com to search for products based on the needs poste don this page and then ship it directly from them, since they will probably come from a closer location than some of us, it woul dbe cheaper and quicker to get to them.

And you can probably find all if the items needed (Except people, of course) so don't feel lik eyou can't help. Even if you send a bag of socks or some bath towels from an online store...we can all do something.

We have already sent two large boxes of items, but we are not sure where they ended up as we used the post offics..mistake we won't make twice.


Mr. said...

I was trying to buy something (20 4-packs of toilet paper, sounds silly, but i know how it is to be without) from drugstore.com, but it asks for an US billing address... Unfortunately, being from italy, i don't have one. Does anyone knows an online shop that doesn't need an american billing address / accepts international credit cards?


Crack Head said...

"Mr. said...
I was trying to buy something (20 4-packs of toilet paper, sounds silly, but i know how it is to be without) from drugstore.com, but it asks for an US billing address... Unfortunately, being from italy, i don't have one. Does anyone knows an online shop that doesn't need an american billing address / accepts international credit cards?


You could try PayPal or an online store similar to paypal.

Also, you lef tno email for people to respong to you...

Mr. said...

I did't like too much the idea of sending money, i'd prefer to send goods, seems like a more direct way of helping. But i can surely look for a shop that accept paypal payments, drugstore.com does not.

If anyone has suggestions please write to mr.fletcher@libero.it (i thought my blogger.com profile was public, so i forgot to openly leave my email)


killerhawk said...

Clayton - The plant I where I work is shutting down for a month starting December 10th - for construction - so I'd like to take advantage of the time off and spend a couple of weeks down there helping. I'm having a hard time finding information on the best way to set something like that up. I'd like to have a plan so as to be as efficient as possible - rather than just showing up and being in the way. E-mail me with any suggestions.

trudatnyc said...

there's a report from 10/18 on NPR about pearlington:

this is a report from 10/7 on This American Life:

killerhawk said...

sorry - here's my e-mail

Anonymous said...

Could you email me as well in regard to where I should go if I were to come and volunteer. Who are the people that are actually helping and will accept volunteers? I'll be going down in december for about 3 weeks. Hang in there.


Anonymous said...

Clayton, are there any little children in Pearlington? Do they need kids' stuff too?

Anonymous said...

I'm currently working on a school supply fund drive for area schools in MS...I'll send supplies out as I get them, assuming the school address you provided will be holding classes this year...Anyways, I have a lot of ideas going on for helping out the kids in MS, if anyone would like to check it out they can go to my site at:

Best wishes and keep up the great work!

JoAnn Bush
Los Angeles, CA

Kris said...

I've linked again, to this specific post.

I checked the NPR piece listed by an earlier comment - is the Red Cross back in business down there? That NPR piece makes it sound as though they are. Did you shame them back?

You're doing a good thing, Clayton. Blessings to all of you.

Anonymous said...

Clayton, you are an AMAZING individual....I am from the NOLA area and have been very impressed with the local volunteer effort here...I am originally from MS and would like to help...I want to go to the coast, but am currently in college....Although, I am going to be sending some supplies your way...thanks for this chronicle of the Katrina tragedy....I have showed it to some friends of mine and got them hooked on cking it evryday...You are awesome man! Keep up the good work so that the nation doesnt forget about our rebuilding effort.


Anonymous said...

Clayton -

I sent a package via FedEx almost a month ago to that exact address, c/o Operation Eden. Today, the pack-n-mail people called me and said FedEx had just returned it because no one named Operation Eden lives there. Tomorrow I'll go try again, via UPS, and make sure there's no signature requirement or anything. I'm pretty disappointed in FedEx, and I second Emily's suggestion to not use them.

funder (at) gmail

Anonymous said...

Hi Clayton, I wondered about this issue in the last comment, whether it would be necessary to have a person's name as the c/o. Anyone know? Also, I too would like to know if the folks in Pearlington need diapers, kids' clothes, other children's supplies...

stargirl at mindspring.com

Anonymous said...


I ordered a bunch of stuff via Amazon.com that was broken up into several UPS shipments and sent to the the exact address Clayton provided. Everything was delivered and signed for (even 1 package that was shipped USPS claimed it was delivered). I'm just sorta keeping the faith that it made it into the right hands but I'll bet it did!

Also by using Amazon I was able to pick and choose only items that qualified for FREE shipping to maximize the value.

Hope this info is useful to some and KEEP HELPING!

Leslie said...

Clayton et al,

I just pulled off a major victory!

I made a deal with the Bay St. Louis Post Office to make weekly deliveries to the School address. Anything with the school address on it will be delivered once a week for the next 8 weeks.

So people don't have to worry about UPS or FedEx if they don't want to - will make it cheaper and easier to ship out!

Woo! It's the little things in life!

Leslie - Adrienne's Sister

HurricaneHelper said...


You should have my personal email address. Write me. We are having a meeting Wednesday at 10 am in Gulfport. It is an interfaith group I work with which is also in Hancock County. There are a lot of resources available to larger groups which could help Pearlington.

Anonymous said...

Hi Clayton,
I just got back from working with the Red Cross. I delivered hot meals to the people of Pearlington and met some great folks. I am collecting Christmas presents for them. Another RC volunteer (who also went to Pearlington) and I will drive from NJ and hand-deliver gifts. It is the least we can do.

Anonymous said...

i was raised in pearlington mississippi, went to school at charles b murphy, st. clare's in waveland, ola in bay st. louis. our home, where my parents lived until katrina, is in oak harbor. after living in new orleans(gentilly terrace) and mid city for many years, working in the french quarter(molly's on toulouse, kagan's on decatur and olde nawlin's cookery) and with animal rescue groups in the city, i moved to pennsylvania for reasons i will not bore you with, but it is a move i have grown to regret before katrina and especially now. i wish to thank clayton for bringing attention to the people of pearlington, and all your wonderful efforts to help them. your mother and brother must be very proud of you.
i just wish to say i understand that feeling of nothing being right since katrina, so hard to explain but very much there.
thank you

sally said...

I wonder if switching the address around and having it say -
"Operation Eden"
c/o Charles Murphy Elementary School - would make a difference in the way things are delivered?
Just a thought!
Keep up all the good work and God Bless!
Am going to start getting stuff together to send.
Thoughts and prayers to all.

sarah said...

I have been sending supplies to Pearlington via the West Hancock Fire Rescue - the local fire department. A clergyman from Christ Church In Slidell, La had asked me if I could help the town after I had sent him a tractor-trailer load of supplies shortly after the hurricane.

The fire department lost ten of its eleven trucks and all of its equipment - fire, EMT and office - and I have been trying to help replace it in small part. I asked my county fire comissioner for help and as a result have had all sorts of fire fighting and medical gear donated. Some went down in two truck deliveries and currently I am working on getting three donated vehicles down to them. A Chief's SUV and a fire truck are down there already.

My experience is that ask and very often you recieve. Pearlington from all reports needs tons of help. Each thing we can do to help it is well worth the effort.

Anonymous said...

I just returned along with 16 others from a week long staf at the Charles Murphy elementary school hilton. The Navy Seebees have built some real nice condos there. I can't wait to come back and help. God bless Pearlington.