Hurricane Sandy, NJ, Staten Island – how quickly they have fallen out of media eye. Did you know –
There are still people living in shelters?
There are homes without power?
There are places without water?
There are still whole areas reeking of gas because of damage to natural gas lines?
Imagine your life one month later – STILL living in a shelter. The few belongings you may have never feeling safe left out of your sight, the only space you have, a cot. Imagine not being able to go back to your home, or when you do, finding the floors covered in INCHES of sand, mold, mildew, destroyed belongings. Imagine your house maybe not even being there anymore. Insurance adjusters are back-logged. Everything you own is GONE.
This is reality for many people today.
Here is one way our family helped –
Saturday our family went to Tuckerton Seaport to help at their Community Dinner. Tuckerton Seaport Museum suffered extensive damage, their bottom floor completely devastated. With mold and mildew concerns it needs to be professionally taken care of and they wanted to take this time to reach out to their community who is also hurting. With a huge tent set up in their parking lot, they set up stations for crafts, a huge potluck dinner, Santa pictures, Real Mom Media handed out CuddleUppets from Jay at Play, a DJ kept the music coming, fresh popcorn and cotton candy were served, sleigh rides (on wheels with teenage boys a reindeer), a used toy donation room, and tables of clothes, non-perishable food, cleaning supplies, and baby items.
Our family helped with crafts. Glitter glue, paint, pipe cleaners and water filled our day but most of all, smiling faces. So many smiling grateful faces filled the tent and the cold day with warmth.
I overheard so much gratitude and comments for what we all banded together and did that day. One little boy actually said to me, “WOW! Who could ever afford this?” I smiled at him and said, “Not many people but when we each do a small part we pull together as a community and make it happen. When we each give what we have it becomes something big. That’s how we do it.” I hope he remembers those words someday when he sees a need and feels too small, too incapable to take care of it all. He can’t do it alone but when we all work together we make something big happen. Your community, your neighbor, aren’t defined by miles.
Maybe you can’t do it all. Maybe you can’t give money. You can give YOU – your heart, time, and yes, maybe even “just a tube of toothpaste.”
Here are ways you can help (I am listing only things I have been personally involved with or where I know the people who are involved in making it happen) –
Kids’ Night Out (Garden State Discovery Museum in Cherry Hill) I am planning on going to this one.
We toured a few streets as we were leaving town last weekend and the devastation is awful. We weren’t even able to go to the worst parts because they still have security blocking the street access and allowing only people with proper ID in. The piles of furniture, houses partially ripped apart…I have no pictures but they sure are in my mind still. ANYTHING you can do to help. ANYTHING at all WILL help.