Imagine in one minute losing your home, the roof over your head, all your possessions, all those irreplacable things that anchor you?
I live in New York, far away from the devastation. When I heard on the news that Harveyville, Kansas was hit by a tornado last week I called my sister who lives just 20 miles from there. She said it was horrible. She and my brother-in-law have been trying to do what they can to help but it is overwhelming.
We can feel miserable in our helplessness seeing the people hit so hard by the tornadoes that took everything they have last weekend. But doing anything really does count and is Good. Every single person making the effort does make a difference because that’s what a community does. And in this small global village we are all part of that community.
For those of us who live close to a disaster area we can volunteer to help with the clean up, distribute water, collect clothing. Look for an organizing leader to direct you to what is needed most, a church, minister, civic government, the mayor’s office, your local Red Cross chapter. We can open our homes to provide warm meals to the displaced. A place to clean up and rest until more permanent arrangements are made is an oasis to someone who has lost everything. Just sitting with people and listening to their story, allowing them to vent, cry, can be a huge blessing.
Below are a collection of web sites that may serve to guide us in what we can do. If you have any other resources that could help us help others please let me know and I will post them.
If someone would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes and floods, they can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to their local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
Locate a shelter. People can find Red Cross shelters by contacting local emergency officials, visiting www.redcross.org, or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). iPhone users can download a free Red Cross shelter view app from the app store.
Those affected can let loved ones know they are safe by registering on the secure Red Cross Safe and Well website, where they can also update their Facebook and Twitter status. If you don’t have computer access, you can also register by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Loved ones outside the disaster area can use Safe and Well to find information about loved ones in the affected areas by using a pre-disaster phone number or complete address. Smart phone users can visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell and click on the “List Yourself as Safe and Well” or “Search for friends and family” link.
Please: If you have any other resources that could help us help others please let me know in the comments or my email, firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will post them.