Volunteer group renews annual commitment to help communities in Gulf Coast rebuild
A team of 30 Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians, representing each of the organization's eight operational regions, arrived in New Orleans on April 15, renewing an annual commitment to help rebuild communities after the devastation from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
"We know first hand from our ongoing commitment to the Gulf Coast that it takes time to rebuild communities after so much destruction," said Raymond J. Baxter, PhD, senior vice president, Community Benefit, Health Policy and Research, Kaiser Permanente. "While many initial relief efforts have been completed, many Gulf Coast communities still have significant needs as they work towards long-term restoration. We continue to hear stories from our community partners about people who have yet to move back into their homes because of severe damage from the storm. This is why we are returning to the Gulf Coast this year and will continue to go until the work is finished."
The home of the O'Neal family will be one of at least five projects the Kaiser Permanente team will be involved in.
"Due to a variety of hardships and setbacks, John O'Neal and his family have not been able to return to their home, which was significantly damaged from flooding," said Peyton Juneau, HandsOn/United Way volunteer project manager. "John is a local theater artist and a community leader who means a lot to his neighbors and who would love to see him and his family return to the block."
Juneau said the Kaiser Permanente team will also continue a few projects from past trips, including working on neighborhood green spaces and gardens.