I was born on the bayou, and I have the teeniest little shirt to prove it.
If you’ve been able to spend much time in that area of Louisiana, it’s likely carved a special place in your heart. It’s made up of the culture and landscape that dominate our most romantic ideas of what south Louisiana is.
And after Hurricane Ida tore through our state, YOU helped us raise $50,000 for the Helio Foundation, who are working tirelessly to aid those southern most parts of Louisiana.
We were (and will always be) beyond blown away at how you showed up. We appreciate the kind words you've shared with us but want to be clear — this IN NO WAY would be possible without all of you.
Thank you. Beyond thank you for trusting us with your donations.
LOVE Louisiana with us
100% of the $25 purchase price of this ASL “I love you” pendant on cotton cord was donated to the Helio Foundation in Houma, Louisiana to aid in Hurricane Ida relief efforts.
And because of your generosity, in less than 24 hours you bought over 800 necklaces that translated to over $20,000 in donations directly to the Helio Foundation to help in the Terrebonne Parish and United Houma Nation areas. Every purchase, like, comment, and share made that possible.
And then when we told you our big crazy goal was to sell 2,000 necklaces to reach a solid $50k in donations to this small group doing the hard work on the ground we all wish we could help with, you made that happen, too.
By Saturday, September 4, 2021, you had purchased all 2,000 ASL I Love You necklaces. And by Tuesday, September 7, all $50,000 had been wired directly to the Helio Foundation.
This kind of support matters more than we know to the folks up and down the bayou who will be waiting for weeks for most other kinds of assistance to kick in.
We can all get so overwhelmed with how to help, or if our offering will go far, but this is proof that as little as $25 adds up (and quickly.) While most donation options have to go through days and days of transfers, we got it into the hands of the folks with their feet on the ground as immediately as possible.
Each tiny ASL ILY hand we package represents the $25 in food, water, and basic necessities you’ve given to neighbors down the bayou. Each necklace comes on a description card and with a handy ASL alphabet card to keep in your wallet.
I packaged the first round on a box top in the car on the way to visit family in Houma and Thibodaux. Packing physical representations of your good will in my hands while I watched the wreckage left by Ida out the windows was humbling in so many ways.
The photos and stories the Helio Foundation have shared with us so far have been heartbreaking to see but heartwarming to know YOUR money is going to help.
We won’t be sharing those details in an effort to honor and respect their privacy, but I’ll find a way to share along the way, so you can know more specifically how you have helped so many.
JONATHAN FORET & THE HELIO FOUNDATION
When we were looking to find the best place to donate for Hurricane Ida relief, I reached out to one of my best friends, Heather Guidry — @hguidr2. She’s from Vacherie and knows the nonprofit world well.
She immediately directed me to her UNO classmate Jonathan. He’d started Helio after they graduated and she sat on the board for the first year. He came highly recommended from a most trusted source.
Jonathan is a former peace corps volunteer and a community organizer in Houma. He lives in Chauvin, one of the areas hit the hardest. He and his team have been mobilizing and passing out supplies, giving emergency funds to those most in need, and so much more.
Jonathan and his team have been there since before this started, and they’ll be there after the rest of the help is gone.
MORE WAYS TO DONATE TO BAYOU COMMUNITIES
We've just shipped out the last of the 2,000 Hurricane Ida Relief — ASL I Love You necklaces. And while the purchase price of this ASL I Love You charm no longer donates to the Helio Foundation, you still can when you shop MIMOSA. We've added the Helio Foundation to our "Jewelry that Gives Back" section during checkout!
These donations will directly support their efforts on the ground as they offer immediate relief for locals in Terrebonne Parish.
If you'd like 1% of your purchase to go to their organization, please choose that option on the pull-down menu on the "shopping cart" page at checkout. They are currently listed as the default option as well.
Mosquito Supper Club has also set up a GoFundMe that will directly donate to the Helio Foundation at www.bayoufund.org.
They have surpassed their original goal of $400,000 and are hoping to reach $1,000,000.
If you have the means, please consider donating even $1. It might not seem like much, or feel like enough, but every single dollar counts when things like water, food, and gas are the basic things you need.
And the gas isn’t to drive, the gas is to run a generator if you’re lucky enough to have one. The generator that keeps at least one room livable and maybe what’s left of the food in your refrigerator cold.
If you’re far removed from this reality, this probably sounds pretty dramatic and maybe over the top like I’m trying to pull your heartstrings. But it’s real, and it’s what these salt-of-the-earth people who live here are going through.
So please consider following this link to donate that $1 or maybe even enough to buy someone on the bayou lunch tomorrow. And I promise, they’ll pay it forward. I can vouch for the goodness of the folks down there.
Published 9/23/21; Last Updated 12/21/21
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