Saturday, June 19, 2010

Drive Down, Go BOOM!

Tampa BoomBQ 1
Shown here: Boxes of donated hair, fur, and nylons, from as far away as Pennsylvania and Ohio. Business card info is more legible here.

On June 18, 2010, I joined other volunteers at a BoomBQ held at the South Tampa Puppy Palace. Thanks to the Puppy Palace for hosting, to Renee Adams of ProWay Paving for coordinating and running the event, and to my fellow volunteers!

BoomBQs are associated with Matter of Trust's Hair for Oil Spills Program. I've been collecting hair and fur to send to volunteer warehouses, which is one step on the way to boom production. My most recent pickup came from Best Friends Grooming Salon, whose donation is in the black bag.

Donated Fur from Best Friends Grooming Salon
Card info is more legible here.

More info and links to resources here. You can see more hair and fur contributors here.

The warehouses are currently full as of this writing, so I'm waiting to hear when I can make the next shipment of donated hair and fur. The booms are currently being used in Alabama and Florida. BoomBQs have been held in those states plus Louisiana. Check out Matter of Trust's press release page for the latest info. BoomBQs are listed on their Twitter and Facebook pages.

Tampa BoomBQ 2

Boxes of donated material are in the foreground. Booms are in the back.

Tampa BoomBQ 6

More boxes of donated material are stacked up inside our workroom.

Tampa BoomBQ 3

My first boom!

Tampa BoomBQ 4

This volunteer drove in from Orlando to make booms. She traveled about the same distance I had, approximately 85 miles one-way.

Tampa BoomBQ 5

Several of us pose with our booms. Renee, the event coordinator, is at left in the top shot. She had moved to Florida for the beaches. Now she's fighting to help save them.

Some of that liquid on my shirt is plain water because I'd splashed my face down a couple of times, but mostly it's sweat. There was plenty of bottled water on hand, along with latex gloves and face masks, all of it donated from local businesses. I was glad I'd brought a face cloth to wipe down not only my face but also my arms, because fur residue settles on just about everything.

All told, we were a handful of people on Friday, still a work day for many. The BoomBQ continues today.

Tampa BoomBQ 6

I hold up horse hair that came to us from Pennsylvania. When I first reached into the box, I marveled at how silky and luxuriant it was. At first I thought I was handling human hair from a salon. But I couldn't imagine one person having that much hair, and it had an animal odor that I couldn't place. Renee took one whiff and said, "It's horse."

And, yes, I was sweating steadily by this point. Even though there were only a few of us, we made more booms than we could count -- each takes only about a couple of minutes to put together. After an almost two-hour drive back home in a car with no A/C, my shower was downright rapturous.

Below my outstretched arm in the shot is a short section of black plastic pipe. To make the booms, we first rolled up legs cut off from nylons and placed them over one pipe end. We stuffed hair and fur into the nylons through the other pipe end. The filled nylons gradually expanded until only a bit of the open end remained, which we then knotted. You can see the Matter of Trust video on how to make hair booms here.

Tampa BoomBQ 7

A pile of newly-made booms. Kudos and thanks to Renee's sons Niko and Stefano for hauling the booms into the warehouse, hauling empty cardboard boxes to the recycle dumpster, and copying down the addresses of everyone who sent donated materials. And for holding up through a hot, labor-intensive, and messy but truly satisfying day!

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