Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ways to Support the Gulf Coast!

I just returned from a week on the Gulf Coast visiting my family. I spent time at my parent's home on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay in Alabama and I spent time at our beach house in Perdido Key, Florida. While I've watched the nightly news and read the articles online, nothing is quite like being in the midst of the oil disaster. Signs in downtown Fairhope, AL are up in restaurant windows advertising benefits and suggesting items for people to donate. To see the orange boom floating on the blue waters is surreal. It lines the waters and you can't help but remember it's purpose to collect OIL in the blue waters of Ole River and the Gulf. They might have a cap on the well for now, but so much damage has already been done to our coast.

We drove down to the beach on a Saturday. Normally in the summer, you don't want to go near Highway 59 leading into Gulf Shores due to the bumper to bumper traffic. This Saturday, it was eerily quiet. The parking lots of the condos lining the sugary white sands of Orange Beach, Alabama were almost empty. As we reached the peak of the Perdido Pass Bridge, I could see the first signs that things were not as I had left them only months prior. Large barges and ships lined the horizon of the Gulf. Strange contraptions dotted the coastline. Large dumpsters and tented staging areas filled the parking lots of the public beaches. Men in strange outfits walk up and down the beaches. It looks like a war zone.

A sign on one restaurant tried to remain lighthearted saying "We serve our oysters stewed and nude, but we promise no crude." During one of our lunches out at Hub Stacey's we were surrounded by people that were hired by BP to patrol the local waters spotting and recovering oil. My Mom's favorite fish market has remained open, but the owner said she's not sure how long their family owned business will last at this rate. Business is slow. They said the people are nervous to eat seafood, despite the highest amount of testing ever. Can you blame them? Even if they say the oil isn't there, fear is killing our Gulf Coast.

Our beach house is on the Intercoastal Waterway so we have been fortunate that the oil has not (yet) reached our beach and water. But, I couldn't help but think if maybe they had missed some as I hesitantly allowed my 18 month old son to walk the sandy shore for the first time. I panicked a little as the warm salt water touched his precious little toes and he reached down to touch the white sand. Was it safe? It looked the same, but what lies beneath the surface? Tears filled up in my eyes as I watched a dolphin emerge in the distance to take a breath. I prayed it would stay far from harm. Emotions overcame me as I spent extra time scrubbing my little one that evening, just to be careful. Will he ever know the beach as I do? Will it always be tainted?

In the meantime, I want to do everything in my power to help MY Gulf Coast. I am only a Southern born Mommy living in NYC, but I am going to do my best to convince you to do your best to help out in some way. Do something, anything!

Sometimes you've got to lift your head up and keep moving forward, one foot in front of the other!

Please, take your family to the Gulf for a vacation. If you have never been, I promise, you'll love it! You can swim in the pools if you are nervous. Play in the hose or the bring a kiddy pool! Eat at the local restaurants, ask questions if you are nervous. Support our community. You can still have fun! They need you right now.

Don't know where to go? Need some suggestions? Later this week I'll be posting a link list so that you can have the opportunity to share your favorite Gulf Coast vacation spot with everyone. Start working on your post so it will be ready to share! Email me if you have questions or suggestions to help spread the word! magnoliasmarriageandmanhattan at gmail dot com

Can't make it down to the coast, then buy a t-shirt or a hat. Donate to the charity of your choice. Please, do something. This is YOUR Gulf Coast too.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
– Theodore Roosevelt

If you are looking for a way to support our Gulf Coast, I'm going to make it easy for you. In addition to giving funds to your favorite local or national charity, how about buying some merchandise!

Consider this your own little Save Our Gulf Coast One Stop Shop for all things related to helping out in one way or another. Now, pick something out. Go ahead...I know you like to shop! Support the Gulf Coast, a portion of ALL of the below products go to various charities that offer support to the Gulf Coast.

I posted about these before, but you can buy the 4 pictured items below:
I have the t-shirt and A has been sporting his hat all over NYC!





 Toddler T-shirt

Now, I know you ALL would probably love to support the Gulf by drinking a cold beer. Right? Next time your out at the bar, see if they are carrying Abita's SOS.

Get Abita's SOS t-shirt or the Abita hat

Switch your dish washing soap to Dawn, we did. It's such a simple gesture and why not support an amazing company who is supporting our wildlife in a major way. Don't forget you have to enter the code on your bottle online to donate! Become their fan on Facebook.

You should be able to find at least ONE t-shirt or hat you like! =)

Did you watch Jimmy Buffett's benefit concert? Buy the tshirt he was wearing from his sister Lucy's restaurant, LuLu's. Check out all the One Love, One Ocean merchandise here.

Listen to Music:

Write a Note:

Shop Amazon and donate to the oil relief fund:

Frame a little reminder for your desk:

 Even a little monogrammed something for us preppy girls to drink our SOS beers in:

Is your store offering a product that will give a portion of sales to a a Gulf Coast relief fund or wildlife organization? Let me know and I'll be sure to post it here! If you aren't, why don't you consider doing something like that!

Thank you for your time and your support...


flip flops and pearls said...

Hwy 59 is usually like a parking lot....back raods are our friends! LOL

Looks like a grand your pictures.

Thanks so much for posting this and supporting the Gulf Coast!! Awesome!!


Preppy 101 said...

Great Post!!! Southern Point Co. was selling a t-shirt with proceeds going to the Coastal Conservation Assoc. Thanks for all the info! xoxo

Donna said...

I posted about your blog the last time you wrote something about this. You are right on and your ideas are sound...wish more could listen....A+++ for spreading a good word!!!

Cindy said...

Good work! Always funny to see grass growing on the beach though--we don't have that on the other coast!

Cindy said...

Good work! Always funny to see grass growing on the beach though--we don't have that on the other coast!

Screen Door Prep said...

I came over here to say & hello & give you an award:

What a great, great post. I am going to check out some of these links. The whole ordeal just breaks my heart. The Gulf Coast is a beloved part of my childhood memories & has become a beloved part of my adulthood, too. Definitely want to help&support any efforts that I can!

Worthington said...

This teared me up. Thank you for sharing. So many great ideas on how to help one of the prettiest places in the world.

Henley on the Horn said...

I love these! What great ideas for Christmas gifts too!

Robin said...

Hey! I am visiting from Jenna's Journey!

THANK YOU from a life-long Alabamian for your dedication to the Gulf!

Since I don't live near the coast, I didn't know how help....thanks for all the information!

Nice to "meet" you!

Robin :o) aka: Alabama Slacker Mama

Laura said...

Adorable pictures! Thanks for the tips on how to help...I will for sure have to look into some of them!!!!

*visiting from Jenna's :)

Jenn said...

I feel you I'm in northern Bama and it's in and on the local news all the time. With J's Job I also hear about it every step of the way. I'm glad that there are companies reaching out to support this. Where are all the celebrities fund-raising in support for this one? It's crazy when only the disney channel thinks to make a shout out about it.

Stopping by from Jenna's

Bourg Family said...

I know exactly what you mean. I grew up 30 minutes from Dauphin Island & an hour and a half from Gulf Shores. It breaks my heart to hear of the damage that's been done. I love what you are doing to help support our coast.

*visiting from Jenna's.

cortney mae said...

Hi, I am new to your blog from the blog hop. I am very thankful for all the info on how to help the gulf. I respect your efforts and will have to check some of those out!
love the apron!
Cortney Carlson

Fried Pink Tomato said...

I love the Vineyard Vines tie. So glad so many people are pitching in to make a difference!

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