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AmeriCares gives bus to Louisiana group

By Kent Pierce, WTNH

1759 days ago   Article ID# 32732
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AmeriCares

NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT (WTNH) - Charmaine Allesandro from Stamford is making a reach all the way to New Orleans where she runs a program to immunize children called the Greater New Orleans Immunization Network .

"We found that there were a lot of parents out there with kids who didn't have access to immunizations or to doctor clinics, so what we did was we got a mobile unit," Allesandro said.

That mobile unit that they have is older and her mechanic tells her it's falling apart.

"And he said 'Charmaine, we've fixed everything on the bus that ends with 'r'. Generator, radiator and the winders'," Allesandro said.

But help came from AmeriCares . The Stamford-based group went to the Gulf Coast in 2005 for Hurricane Katrina and never left.

"While enormous progress has been made in New Orleans, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done down there, so we're very pleased to be able to help," Curt Welling, AmeriCares president and CEO said.

This time they're helping by giving Charmaine's immunization network an RV. It was donated by a drug company that used it for skin cancer screenings.

"So when AmeriCares called and said they had this vehicle, would we be interested, are you kidding? We would love it," Allesandro said.

The new mobile unit will let a couple hundred kids a day get the shots they need.

"The nurse would be working in the back and call the patient in," Allesandro said during a tour of the vehicle.

This has come at a time when New Orleans needs more help than ever.

"A lot of the support that came into the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina has pulled back, both as many communities across the rest of the US need support and also as funding ran out," Elizabeth Furst Frank, AmeriCares senior vice president said.

When they started the immunization project 11 years ago, they thought they would be lucky to see six or seven thousand kids a year. Most recently they say more than 14 thousand kids will be seen. And with this vehice, they hope to get thousands more than that through this door every year.

Copyright 2014 WTNH   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 1759 days ago   Article ID# 32732

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