UPDATE: The story is legitimate, as reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
I am usually suspicious of Internet pleas for help, expecting it to be a scam. However, I had recently received an email from a colleague regarding her son's plight in New Orleans. The email was written by her daughter. It reads:
Most of you may know that my brother Luke went down to New Orleans to teach. He wound up at Booker T. Washington School, which is a school for kids who have failed 8th grade twice. Some of the youth in his school are as old as 18-21. I am sure you can appreciate that this sounds like a difficult situation, however please consider the following additional hardships:
1. None of the teachers or administrators have been paid yet this year. My brother still hasn't been paid for the three months of summer school he taught.
2. The school does not have a phone, a computer, books, or other basic supplies.
3. So aside from not being paid, the teachers also have to come out of pocket just to have something to teach. Teachers are literally bringing their own books to the classrooms, or photocopying pages at Kinkos (as the school has a copy machine but no paper or money to purchase it.) So here's how you can help. If you have old kids' books, things from a 2nd to an 8th grade reading level, if you have extra notebooks, pens, pencils, just basic school supplies, and you are willing to help Luke help these kids, he sure could use the help. If you don't have this stuff around but would want to buy something to help, a classroom set of a book would be 10-12 copies. You could have Amazon.com or eBay or Office Depot or whatever ship it directly to my brother:
2419 Lapey Rouse St.
New Orleans, LA 70119
If you have stuff around and want to group it together to ship it, that's cool too, I can collect things and put packages together. We'll send a package out every Saturday (as long as we have something to send). You can drop stuff off at my house, or at my mom's. Or email me and I can pick stuff up from you. I am especially cc:ing my friends who are teachers, as maybe you might have an 'in' on where to get good discounted books or classroom sets or whatever. I know that not everyone has tons of money to put into this sort of thing, and I know that a lot of the schools in our community are lacking some very basic needs, but it absolutely breaks my heart that here in America, we have schools with no books, no paper, no pens, and these are some of the youth who are most in need of tools to help them succeed.
The young lady's email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you notice the age of the children, like I did, I was informed that these are often kids who made bad choices, or had bad choices made for them, and are trying to improve their life situation. I was also informed that Molly is planning on taking a van or truck down this Saturday, if anyone can help.