Squawk Radio

Sunday, September 11, 2005

UPDATE: our Katrina Refugee, Leslie Ferdinand

Hi everyone,

The first thing I want to say comes straight from Leslie's heart, and it's a resounding THANK YOU!!! She has grown tearful many times over the past two weeks, every time I called her and told her that another gift card from Walmart or Target had arrived, or a box of toys, or a few precious children's videos, or crayons... I can't even tell you how generous the Squawker community has been! We have collected several hundred dollars in gift cards, wonderful things from the Disney store for the children, clothing and books. We have found a lot of Leslie's keepers, and two research books on Regency England have arrived as well. And we haven't stopped there: among other things, a Squawk Reader in Philly sent a VCR, DVD and TV that was languishing in her attic and a Squawker herself (our lovely Elizabeth B) found an entire set of china in her basement. And the auction is going strong!

So here's how Leslie's doing at the moment. Obviously, things are a bit rough. She's still living in the garage apartment because while FEMA said they would move her to a Day's Inn, when Leslie, her mom and her children arrived there it turned out that they only had one tiny room with a single double bed. For 5 people and a baby? Back to the garage they went. Now FEMA is hoping to move them into an apartment after the 13th--but it will be unfurnished. A lovely Squawk reader in Houston has offered a double bed and table and chairs, but Houston is a four hour drive from Leslie. Any good-hearted Texan out there have a husband who loves to trundle around in a truck delivering furniture for a good cause?

We've rounded up towels, a laundry basket and cutlery, but here's a wish list in case you have something hanging around your basement that would help Leslie make a bare apartment into a cosy nest for her three displaced children:

tablecloth or place mats
sharp knives for cooking
pots and pans
bedding (hopefully FEMA will come up with some beds)
any kind of glass or plastic cups
a camera - any kind. (Leslie lost all her pictures in the flood and she needs to take pictures of her little family!)
a CD or tape deck (we've got some lovely CDs to replace those she lost - thank you!)

If you have any of these things or something else you think of and don't need, please write me (
eloisa@eloisajames.com) and we'll figure out how to get them to Leslie. And if you are still thinking about sending a gift card...it would be received with huge, huge thanks from Leslie, her mom, and little Allegra, Katie and Zoe. Little two-year-old Katie wasn't eating for a few days when they first arrived in Texas, but she's perking up now, and that definitely has something to do with her mom feeling more cheerful -- and that has something to do with all of you!

With gratitude to all for your generosity,
Eloisa James, 4:02 PM