Donations still being collected for Katrina victims in Williston

By Marianne Apfelbaum
Observer staff

With a long, cold winter ahead, donations continue to be accepted at the Williston Observer for Hurricane Katrina victims who have relocated to the Williston area.

As reported in last week’s edition, 12 family members and friends from storm-ravaged New Orleans have relocated here and are trying to familiarize themselves with their new surroundings.

Audrey and Irving Trevigne, both 79, evacuated just hours before the storm with only the clothes on their backs. Currently staying in a small apartment in Maple Tree Place with their daughter, Ava Andrews, and her children, the couple hopes to move with the family to a larger apartment in the same complex.

Neighbors tried to make them feel at home with a Southern-style barbecue on Sunday night.

“There was jerk chicken, ribs, potato salad …lots of people came out and they really enjoyed it,” said Andrews. “They got to meet lots of people and are acclimating very well.”

One thing all the evacuees may not be prepared for are the harsh Vermont winters. The Trevignes, for example, are accustomed to year-round warm weather. They were surprised to learn that the temperatures often dip below zero in Vermont, and that galoshes aren’t enough to keep their feet warm in winter.

But the Williston community is pitching in to help, donating gift certificates for some of their basic needs. One donor gave a gift card to Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel so the evacuees can purchase the proper winter footwear. Other donations have included gift cards for Shaw’s and TJ Maxx, as well as donations of money and offers of blankets, quilts, clothing and even transportation to job interviews and appointments.

The donations will help the families get through the next few months as they wait to find out if they will receive any compensation for their homes and belongings from insurance companies.

The evacuees are trying to put their lives back together. The Blooms, whose son Kolby started first grade last week at Williston Central School, have found an apartment in Burlington. Danielle Bloom may have to put her son in the Burlington school system because of the commute.

Edwinn Bernard, who evacuated with his daughter, Amber, started a job this week as a security guard. He said Amber really likes Williston Central School. He is impressed with the quality of the school system and is still looking for permanent housing in Williston.

Those who would like to donate gift cards to the evacuees for the purchase of winter clothing, food, and household items may drop them off at the Williston Observer, which is acting as a collection point. The gift cards should be made out to “Hurricane Katrina Victims.”

The Observer’s office is located at 2141 Essex Road (Route 2A), next to Taft Corners Shopping Center. A receipt will be provided.

For more information, call Sierra Flynn at the Williston Observer at 872-9000.