My family and I regularly visit the gulf coast of Florida for a summer vacation. I still plan to visit the area, and was wanting to make my vacation a little more meaningful to me this year by volunteering to assist in cleanup or related work for the oil spill.
I followed the official channels to volunteer, and received a less than encouraging response for the regional chapter of the American Red Cross (whom was listed as the official volunteer organization). Here are snippets of the message:
You are receiving this email because you submitted your contact information to the Bay County Oil Spill Volunteer Database. We have so many people expressing a desire to help that we can’t respond individually to everyone. Following is some information that may answer your questions and that you need to know.
* BP has hired contractors to handle all aspects of the oil spill clean up.
* BP has hired contractors to handle all aspects of dealing with affected wildlife.
* We are not encouraging or accepting monetary donations or the donations of items because BP is required to pay all expenses associated with oil spill clean up and recovery.
* We have well over 1,000 local citizens who have signed up to volunteer with the oil spill clean up.
* We will not be asking for volunteers from outside of our local area.
* Volunteers will not be allowed to work in areas where they might come into contact with hazardous materials (tar balls, sheen, oil).
* Volunteers will not be allowed to handle affected wildlife.
* Operating under the constraints of current guidelines, we are looking for meaningful volunteer assignments.
* As volunteer assignments are developed, we will communicate those to you.
* Beware organizations (local and national) making representations as to their involvement in the oil spill clean up or asking for donations related to oils spill clean up.