This post is a little different than most of my other blogs. I try to stick with communication and professional topics on this page. I would be remiss, however, if I didn't address what is going on this very minute in our country.
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey ravaging Texas and Louisiana, I am reminded of my own events this past year. As many of you know, we lost our home to a fire in December of 2016. I was out of town and I didn't know what I would come "home" to, or where my home would be. What I did know, however, was that I had friends, loved ones, and a community of support for myself and my family.
What makes my heart ache the most about Harvey is that it's still going on. The damage can not even be assessed yet. Entire communities are devastated. People have to choose between a place to stay and keeping their pets. (This is a gut-wrenching decision to have to make, believe me.) While we are deciding what clothes to wear and what to make for our lunches today, people are sleeping on cots and wearing the same clothes they have likely been wearing for days. I am certain they just long to sleep in their own bed and they are wondering what they can salvage back home, if anything at all.
This is not a war-torn, third world country, folks! This is America. No doubt we will rise up and move forward, but this all takes time. Even when the physical evidence of Harvey goes away, the emotional scars will remain.
For those of us on higher ground that are wanting to help, there are some things you can do. First, we need to run triage... stop the bleeding... then treat the wound. To stop the bleeding means providing the immediate necessities for the people that are displaced. These items include food, water, shelter, and medications. Then, add some comfort items... clothes, blankets, a stuffed animal for a little kid. Next, hug somebody that is suffering. It seems so simple, doesn't it? We need hugs on a daily basis anyhow, but with stress and added cortisol, people really need the power of a good hug to release dopamine in their system. (Please make sure the participant is willing to be hugged first.)
With so many people in a survival mode right now affected by Harvey, we have a call to action. Understandably, we can't all rush down there as we would like to whisk them away. So HOW can we help? Here are some ideas:
1.) Donate to vetted organizations that specialize in disaster relief.
(Here is a link to a charity federation that I work with frequently. You can choose from a number of organizations doing amazing work. https://charity.org/press/news/hurricane-harvey-relief-fund) These organizations are sending water, hygiene kits, blankets and other supplies to people impacted by the hurricane.
2.) Foster a displaced animal. (Or support organizations doing so.)
3.) Support businesses that are helping victims so that they can continue to support those in need.
4.) Find a local organization that is shipping goods down to Texas and Louisiana to see what they need. Basic toiletries such as toilet paper, sanitary supplies for women, toothbrushes, and toothpaste are simple, but necessary.
5.) Pray for the victims, families, and communities. What affects us one affects us all.
Thank you for reading this and make it an amazing day for someone!