Staying Cool at the Goin’ Home Café
Everyone at the Lower 9th Ward site can agree, "It's hot out there." People come into the Goin’ Home Cafe and are relieved by the shade, a cool drink, and the newly installed air conditioner in the dining room.
As the temperature rises, volunteers continue to go out everyday to mow lawns and gut houses. Residents are seen fixing roofs, and blue tarps are becoming shingled signs of progress. Among the corps of Emergency Communities volunteers is Darren McKinney, a resident of the Lower 9th Ward for the past forty years. Darren can be seen at the Goin’ Home Cafe and around the community every day performing his role as the neighborhood handy man.
On Sundays, he stops mowing lawns and swinging his hammer to barbecue dinner. He grills in front of the site on the sidewalk, and flags down people to come in and eat. The hours Darren has clocked at Emergency Communities and around the neighborhood are innumerable, and he hopes his work will help residents move back to the Lower Ninth. “I want the family to be back together,” he says, “The neighborhood family." Through his commitment to seeing his community rebuilt and brought back to life, he has become an integral member of the family of volunteers at Emergency Communities.
Yesterday, Darren installed a door to keep the cool air in the dining room area, which includes a children's space. The cool air is much appreciated by the young people who have just started the free summer day camp. The camp is open to ages 5-18 and is providing the children of the Lower Ninth Ward a safe and fun summer option. The camp was made possible with donations from the Woman's National Democratic Club in Washington, DC. The children spend time on- and off-site, reading, playing games, taking field trips, and, of course, swimming to stay cool.
Volunteers continue to arrive, but we are always in need of enthusiastic, compassionate and creative people to share their talents and time with the community. We are grateful for the residents of the Lower Ninth Ward who have welcomed us into their community and neighborhood family.