Laid-off Louisiana oyster workers find a pearl of hope

VIDEO - The Gulf oil spill devastated the workers of the Ameripure Oyster Co., but one month later the generosity of strangers is lifting their spirits and filling their tables...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

One month ago, theGrio reported on the Ameripure Oyster Company of Louisiana, which had to close its doors and lay off 43 workers in the shadow of the Gulf oil spill. An outpouring of support from strangers around the country is lifting the spirits of those laid-off workers, with generous donations of food and money to keep them afloat.

One such worker, Latoya Wilson, faced the depressing prospect of canceling her one-year-old daughter’s birthday party. When letters started arriving, carrying prayers of goodwill, donations arrived as well. Ms. Wilson was able to have a spot of celebration in an otherwise difficult period.

Fellow worker Brenda Williams was down to her last 4 dollars, until Dan Gladding of Virginia stepped up by offering thousands of dollars – his entire overtime pay for the last three months – to give every single worker a sizable check. Gladding is quick to turn down praise, saying only that it was what he “needed to do”.

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Even businesses have felt the need to help. Save On Seafood, one of Ameripure’s customers in better times, sent a shipment of frozen fish to help feed the families now struggling with little or no income. Ameripure owner Pat Fahey finds hope in the situation. He says, “It tells me the human heart is alive and beating.”

Ameripure has set up a tax-deductible fund to support the workers and their families in their time of need. Please go to for details.