June 24, 2010

WWL-TV Partners with United Way for Oil Spill Relief

New Orleans, LA - In an effort to help those affected by the Gulf oil spill, WWL-TV Channel 4 has partnered with the United Way. In a series of public service announcements and news reports, that station is encouraging viewers to make donations to the non-profit organization.

The need is greater than ever. At the St. Bernard Community Center, up to 230 people a week receive donated food, a 37 percent increase since the oil spill began.

"We're seeing a lot more people coming from the eastern part of the parish, from fishing communities, and a lot more fishermen looking for ways to sustain throughout this time," said Community Center Food Pantry Manager Krystle Johnson.

Featured in commercials are WWL-TV anchors Eric Paulsen and Sally Ann Roberts. They call on viewers to support United Way programs, which in turn provide food, shelter and clothing for those impacted by the crisis. United Way also helps with emotional counseling, job assistance and medical care.

"The need is almost too much to handle in many respects," said Gary Ostroske, United Way Executive Director. "There is a unique situation where you have people who feel that BP should be responsible for everything, and in fact they should, but there are still people who need to be fed, and babies who need to be cared for, and that's why this fund is so important, that it can step in where there's a crack, there's a gap, that we can make things work, and then we can reclaim those dollars from BP later on."

One of the 95 United Way member agencies is the Second Harvest Food Bank. They need double the amount of food they now currently warehouse in order to meet the demand from the oil spill. State officials say the disaster is already affecting 47 thousand families.

"We were struggling to meet the demand that there was," said Second Harvest Food Bank Executive Director Natalie Jayroe. "This increase of 25 percent demand from our member agencies serving the southern part of Louisiana, the coastal parishes, is going to be very difficult to meet."

To make a donation to the Oil Spill Fund, you can call 211, or log on to unitedwaynola.org.

About Belo Corp.
WWL-TV is part of Belo Corp. (BLC), one of the nation's largest pure-play, publicly-traded television companies, that owns and operates 20 television stations (nine in the top 25 markets) and their associated Web sites. Belo stations, which include affiliations with ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW and MyNetwork TV, reach more than 14 percent of U.S. television households in 15 highly-attractive markets. Belo stations rank first or second in nearly all of their local markets. Additional information is available at www.belo.com or by contacting Chris Merrifield, WWL-TV Creative Services Director at 504-529-6273.