CHALMETTE -- At the St. Bernard Community Center, up to 230 people a week come for supplies of donated food, a 37 percent increase since the oil spill began.
"We're seeing a lot more people coming from the eastern part of the parish, from fishing communities, and a lot more fishermen looking for ways to sustain throughout this time," said Community Center Food Pantry Manager Krystle Johnson.
Janet Woodward is volunteering at the Community Center today, helping others. But tomorrow, she'll come back for food for her family because she says there is little work at the seafood processor where she has a job.
"I would be in big trouble, because I wouldn't be able to feed my kids," worried seafood plant worker Janet Woodward. " I would be in big trouble."
While there are many people who need help, there are also many others that want to help. Now, WWL-TV is beginning a major long-term campaign in the "Spirit of the Community,' working with United Way of the Greater New Orleans area to get the help you give to those who need it.
"The need is almost too much to handle in many respects," said Gary Ostroske, United Way Executive Director. "There is a unique situation where you have people who feel that BP should be responsible for everything, and in fact they should, but there are still people who need to be fed, and babies who need to be cared for, and that's why this fund is so important, that is can step in where there's a crack, there's a gap, that we can make things work, and then we can reclaim those dollars from BP later on."
One of the 95 United Way member agencies is the Second Harvest food bank. They say they need to double the amount of food now in this warehouse to meet the demand from the oil spill, which state officials say is already affecting 47-thousand families.
"We were struggling to meet the demand that there was," said Second Harvest food bank Executive Director Natalie Jayroe. "This increase 25 percent demand from our member agencies serving the southern part of Louisiana, the coastal parishes, is going to be very difficult to meet."
But many wonder how long this crisis will last, and what will happen to them as the impact deepens.
"Sometimes we fish, fish, and we crab, we make gumbo, and catch fish and stuff off the dock and make a meal," said Violet resident Janice Washington.
To make a donation to the Oil Spill Fund, you can call 211, or log on to unitedwaynola.org.