I returned home just days following Hurricane Harvey’s rampage through this part of Texas, getting a first hand view of the devastation to some 100+ families, not including the dozens of businesses that were impacted in our small town. The saddest part of this tragedy is most of those affected could not afford these life changing events.
They lost everything…except each other. They have no clothes, no shoes, no food, no furniture, no school supplies, no homes, no direction…and no money.
Rebuild? How? With What?
Pull yourself up with your boot straps? Who has boots?
I sat with a restaurant owner yesterday as she handed out grocery store gift cards, clothing store gift cards, and cash to her staff members who have no place to live, and no means to ‘start over’. It was important that the restaurant open because these folks needed to get a paycheck, and that wouldn’t be possible if the business stayed closed.
While there, people walked through the door, handing the owner more gift cards, more money, and lots of assurances that more will come.With every donation she made up packets of equal value for each one of her ‘family members’, as she calls those who have been on the payroll for many years.
“Immediately after the storm,” she recalls, “I put out a message on social media that we needed help to care for these folks who were suddenly homeless.”
It quickly became apparent that a family of 4 or 5 or 6 may need mattresses, or a refrigerator, but they had no place to put those items. They were camped out with friends. What they need is money to buy clothes, to pay for a motel room, to buy toothbrushes, soap, combs, shampoo, toilet paper, paper towels: those basic needs– things we often overlook.
These are proud people, who work every day, who keep their children in school, who live on minimum wage. They have labored hard to have a home…and now they are homeless. It doesn’t seem to be fair, but Mother Nature doesn’t consider who deserves chaos, and turmoil. Fairness isn’t part of the equation when destruction hits.
It becomes our responsibility…society’s responsibility…to help them. Neighbors helping neighbors, regardless of race, social status, religion, color of skin, or political leanings. And in our community, we are seeing that happen.
RV’s are opened to a family. A garage apartment is cleared out and now houses a family of 4.
“It’s small, but they are dry and safe,” said the apartment owner.
Grocery stores are giving away free bottles of water since the town is under a ‘boil water’ order.
Volunteers are helping with clean up of homes of people they don’t know.
The ground swell of support and giving is remarkable, and it reminds me of the old song with the following lyrics:
‘I love those dear hearts and gentle people who live in my hometown,
because these dear hearts and gentle people will never, ever let you down.’
La Grange residents acknowledge many of our neighbors may be homeless following the storm, but they do not need to feel helpless.
Help is here…because these dear hearts and gentle people will never, ever let you down.
This is my response to the writing reader’s prompt ‘not fair’. http://www.thewritingreader.com/blog/2017/09/04/prompt-4001-not-fair/#.Wa1JQk3cR2c.wordpress