Sorry for not posting as soon as I got back August 21st. I’ve been busy, busy, busy following up on all the contacts I made in the weekend I rocked New York!!!
But I do want to write a few words to remember September 11 with something positive.
It seems even before the election of Barack Obama that America was in the process of splitting into two separate, bitterly divided nations trapped within a common border, like we’re choosing up sides for the next Civil War. This process seemed to intensify in the ten months since Trump’s election.
But then came the monster storms Harvey and Irma, and in the face of crisis we’re seeing something else, something beautiful. Thousands of Americans began rushing toward the disaster areas in boats, jet skis, kayaks, whatever they could use to pick up the stranded, the flooded out—the papers are calling it “America’s ‘Dunkirk’”. Others packed up trucks and buses with tons of food and water and started driving south. Owners of stores and warehouses opened up their places of business as makeshift shelters. Even up here in Hammond, my buddy Tony tells me of locals calling and coming in to the Library seeking ways they could go down there to help.
And even before Irma hit, people as far north as Maryland were headed for the islands in the Caribbean, bringing labor and supplies to help the residents brace as best they could for the storm. First responders from across the nation are marshaling to start providing rescue and relief as soon as weather permits. Meanwhile, neighboring states, even Harvey-rocked Texas, are taking in people fleeing Irma.
Under the deluge, differences between “red state” and “blue state,” “liberal” and “conservative,” “legal citizen” and “illegal alien” seem to wash away, leaving just good people trying to help hurting people as best they could, not bothering to check voting records or green cards to see if they “deserve” it.
What’s happening down there is horrible, no doubt; and there are fears we could see more like this as the ocean warms; but how we are responding, right now, is utterly beautiful—a rainbow in the storm.
How can I help?
Tony made up this quick list of Web sites to visit to find ways to help. He offers these two pieces of advice, which is what they’re recommending at the Library:
1) There’s lots of stuff that needs done right here. If you want to volunteer to help, look first to local aid groups that need volunteers;
2) If you want to send assistance to survivors of Harvey and Irma, cash (money) is the most useful thing you can send. A large portion of donated materials must be thrown out as not usable or suitable. Money can be used to buy anything.
Disaster Relief Links:
FEMA—[How To] Volunteer & Donate Responsibly
FEMA—How to Volunteer for Hurricane Irma Disaster Relief
The American Red Cross
Habitat for Humanity
The United Way
The Humane Society of the United States
For more disaster relief organizations, check the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster