Hurricane Sandy has devastated much of the East coast and affected millions of people. I cannot get it out of my mind and I keep seeing the images of devastation in my head (and on the news and on the internet). I have a lot of family members who were in Sandy’s direct path (Staten Island and New Jersey) but are fortunately safe, well, and getting by the best they can.
This month, November, this weekly blog was going to take on a theme in lieu of the Thanksgiving holiday: things I am thankful for and people who inspire me.
Tragedy brings out the best in so many people (although it can accentuate the worst in a few) but I would like to focus on some of the exceptional positive reactions that have sprung up from the aftermath of the hurricane.
I would like to remind people that our youths can do really incredible things.
My cousin Danielle is 14 years old. I found out through my grandma yesterday that she had donated a lot of her clothing (along with her family) to people in her community who were affected by the hurricane. I also found out that she spent much of her day on Saturday at the high school in her town, handing out goods to those in need along with many others who came out to help in any small way they could.
Teenagers get a lot of flack, I’m young enough to clearly remember the insults I heard on a regular basis about my own generation. Young people are looked upon as immature delinquents and categorized by stereotypes that are often so generic and unfounded.
Young people, like Danielle, have a lot to offer. When we give people an opportunity to assist, even in a small way, we are not only helping out others but instilling a lot of values in those helpers as well. Danielle texted me and told me, ” Yea 🙂 it feels so good to help people!”
That simple statement couldn’t be more accurate. One of the best feelings in the world is knowing that some small thing you did is going to assist someone out there who could use a hand.
Every ember in my body wants to go down and help out but unfortunately at this point in the recovery effort I would most likely be in the way. I jumped on the opportunity, along with my family, to donate clothes, blankets, flashlights, batteries, and other goods that were being collected by our local fire department in Massachusetts.
I called the fire department yesterday evening as soon as I found out about the donation collection to make sure they would still take our items. I was relieved when I was told I could drop things off within the next 30 minutes and thanked the man who had picked up. He responded with a kind but stern, “NO, thank YOU” and hung up the phone.
I was a bit taken aback as I faltered for a moment before rushing around the house parting with material goods as quickly as possible. I had thought to myself, “I’m really not doing that much”. But, one must remember that every little bit helps. I went through my winter clothes bin that I had just taken out of my closet and packed up as much as I could part with. I said goodbye to a fleece blanket I had won at my high school, a jacket I had bought last winter, and a surplus of other things.
It may not be much, but my family and I were able to scrounge up several bags of items.
I implore you to send some relief where you can. Even if you can’t help out with the hurricane relief effort, try to do something local in your community if that’s something that you’re capable of. Sometimes just having someone to talk to is all a person may need, if you open up your heart and do something even in the smallest of ways you can make a difference.
Creating positive change can be overwhelming,
but if all people did something small for someone else we could make a really big difference together.
Give what you can while you still have something to give.