What is OilSpillVolunteers.com?
OilSpillVolunteers.com is just ordinary folks who saw an urgent need to organize volunteers to assist with the cleanup of BP's oil spill in our backyard and decided to do something about it. Don Abrams decided to create an online system for collecting contact information from volunteers and made it happen five hours later. At the same time, Melanie Allen, a neighbor in Ocean Springs, Mississippi simultaneously began mobilizing to work with the media to call attention to the need. A few minutes after we each began, we discovered our parallel efforts via our separate emails to the Mayor of Ocean Springs. We immediately began collaborating. The site collected 1000 volunteers in the first 24 hours of operations and has grown from there. After asking BP to collaborate with us on an oil containment boom monitoring system and being turned down, we just did it on May 3. We're already receving valuable information from it.
We have no funding. We are using our personal resources and we've stepped away from our regular jobs. But, there's nothing unusual about what we've done. Volunteer citizens all up and down the coast and from beyond are doing the same. We're just trying to minimize the damage from BP's spill to the waters and shores we love. So far, BP is turning down our offers.
Melanie and I are honored to have a third person on board. Toby Reid stepped away from his bioplastics business in Vancouver, B.C. to fly to New Orleans and come to Ocean Springs by cab to find us. He's been working nearly non-stop on the web site and setting up new communications systems since he arrived on Sunday, May 2. Look for group email and a blog soon.