Mikoto Ogura and Fred Schenk, both high school teachers in Evanston, Illinois, used their spring break to gut houses in New Orleans for ACORN, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. The couple decided to support the economy by staying in a hotel and buying their meals from local restaurants and cafes, rather than staying at the FEMA camp where the other ACORN volunteers are staying. "It's been a wonderful experience. We work 9 to 3, then shower and walk into the French Quarter." says Schenk. "We've been shopping. I bought my daughter a glow in the dark rosary that she wanted for her first communion." They both find the combination of work and relaxation rewarding. "Every afternoon we look at each other and say 'This was a good idea,'" adds Ogura. "This is what we should be doing."
ACORN volunteers have gutted over 1000 houses for low income home owners in Greater New Orleans as part of their Katrina disaster relief program.