The loose-knit coalition of groups known as 'the Rainbow Family of
Living Light', best known for their yearly 4th of July Rainbow
Gatherings at rotating locations throughout the country, have been
instrumental in the relief effort following Hurricane Katrina. The
mobile kitchen they founded in Waveland, Mississippi, the area hardest
hit by the storm, has been consistently serving 2,000 people a day
since its inception in early September.
In New Orleans, the Rainbow Family established a kitchen over a month
ago serving three meals a day to the homeless, nearly homeless, and
underserved people of New Orleans. A half mile away is a facility with huge tents and serving areas set up by FEMA, but it is for FEMA
contractors only, and large signs posted outside say "No public
services available". In fact, FEMA has been very visibly absent in the city of New Orleans, from their initial arrival five days late to their inexplicable lack of public centers in the city itself.
The "Welcome Home Kitchen", as the Rainbow Family's Kitchen is known,
has been serving well over 700 people each day for three meals a day,
as well as providing free medical care, a distribution center of clothing and supplies, a community bulletin board and information table, and a sense of camaraderie that has brought smiles and hugs from people in the most desperate of circumstances.
But now the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of the New Orleans
Emergency Operations Center, Ms. Cynthia Lear, has declared that the
city will unilaterally shut the kitchen down on Wednesday, providing no alternative and no resources for the underserved in New Orleans. Ms. Lear has stated that there is no appeals process for this decision, even though community members at the Fauberg-Marigny neighborhood council meeting on Monday gave virtually unanimous support to the ongoing work of the kitchen.
Please call ms. cynthia sylvan lear, the deputy chief administrative
officer of the new orleans emergency operations center at
504-658-2180 and Mayor Nagin at (504) 658-4924, Fax: (504) 658-4938
to express your dismay that such a resource would be unilaterally
dismantled by the government while it is providing such an important
resource for the community.