How to Help

Yesterday I told you how the residents of my apartment building have formed a community where everyone helps each other. I’ve shown you recently the trash left by the college students and how so much of what we collected was quality wooden pieces of furniture. But while my little town is enjoying summer-like days, preparing gardens, taking walks or just enjoying the sounds of nature or easy conversations, there is a part of the country reeling from loss. Loss of everything material and even of loved ones.

I’m talking about the citizens of Oklahoma who have lost everything you and I take for granted. No home or shelter, not even that of a car. Not knowing if loved ones are still alive or where they may be. Not having access to food or water without having to be dependent on the kind generosity of others.

My mind keeps returning to everything these people will need. Clothes and toiletries, even water for basic cleaning and hydration. Once they do find housing, whether temporary or permanent they will need everything from towels to something to sit down on.

So many of us, myself included have more than we need. We declutter our spaces regularly, and donate or sell what we no longer need or want. Or in the case of the college students, just throw it away. I keep picturing chairs with a ripped side, or a table with a damaged finish. There are things I didn’t save because it would have been too much work for me to restore to like-new condition. But if I had nothing I would have gladly accepted these items.

So how can we help these people who are living in an area which is being called “post-apocalyptic” by some to describe the destruction?

If you live in the area, you can open your home to a person or two. Not comfortable with that? You could offer shelter in your garage and share your meals. If it were me, I would gladly sleep in a detached garage with my children to keep them safe from the weather and keep them close to me.

You could help by donating food to rescuers, even water would be gladly accepted.

And if you have meant to declutter you attic of old furniture, linen closet of extra sheets and towels, etc you can contact local churches or other organizations who will be collecting items. Now is the time to get rid of those samples you never get around to using. Shampoo, soap…what about those granola bars you didn’t care for? All these things would be welcomed by those with nothing.

If you live further away, many organizations are accepting donations from Feed the Children to the Red Cross. A quick internet search would tell you if your favorite charity is assisting the survivors.

 

 

Me, I live several states from the disaster and I like to know my help goes to meet a specific need. My searches today are to find a way to be connected with one family I can sponsor. This is the only time I will mention my help in the face of this disaster because I want to protect the privacy of the family I am ultimately connected with and to blog about it would just feel wrong.

 

 

14 Comments

  1. It’s wonderful to see people helping out in a disaster, and giving others ideas about how they can help, you have a lovely heart. I’ve seen similar donations of goods to people in Victoria after bush fires destroyed hundreds of homes. A friend in my street came and collected all our old towels to take to the RSPCA to be used for injured animals. Now when I have old bedding or towels, that’s where I take it to, so it can be used for the comfort and care of lost and injured animals.

    • Sue, I grew up riding along with my grandmother who volunteered her time to the Red Cross to take people to doctor appointments. Then years later when my home burned from an electrical short we were sitting outside with the support of neighbors waiting for the fire to be completely out when two lovely women approached and introduced themselves as Red Cross workers.

      I was in such a fog trying to answer their questions, I remember neighbors helping with that part, they were kind and offered us so much.

      That night I left with vouchers for clothing in various amounts as we had lost all but what was on our backs. $50 vouchers were given to my eldest and myself, slightly more for my youngest as he had run out without his shoes.

      We had such out pouring of support from friends and strangers alike that by the time we moved into our new home we were able to decline most help from the Red Cross to fulfill our basic needs, but it was wonderful to know they were there had we needed more.

      You have chosen a wonderful charity, Sue.

  2. What a wonderful Heart you have!….. Such positive actions helping make a difference in someone’s lives. This is what ‘Community’ is all about…. Sharing…. Caring…… and being there for someone when in need……
    My heart fills with love, for I know through all the dark times we shall face.. The ‘Real’ Human Spirit as you have shown here will learn to surface again as neighbours start to help neighbours once again.. Instead of being distrusting strangers….
    Blessings ~Sue xxx

  3. We agree that the needs of the Oklahoma families are overwhelmingly huge, but one person CAN make a difference to someone. Thanks for the encouragement to consider specifics of how we can help.
    On another note, somehow I had not realize you live in the USA; I always pictured your community in England. I had to re-read your ‘about’ section tonight.

    • Live and Learn, years ago I began to first adopt a child anonymously at Christmas but disliked not knowing if the child would have liked or needed something different so I began to adopt a family, while they don’t know who I am I find the families through friends who can give me specific ideas of their needs. Then when hearing about a disaster a few years ago I reached out to do the same. I’m glad you are interested in trying to help in this way. Its a little harder to locate a specific family, but by contacting schools or churches you can find a family that resonates with you to assist.

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