But there is a reason for everything, even in disaster relief volunteering!
Today was a busy, and interesting day for us…
Vaughn, Jake, Thomas, Daniel, and Joel, worked one last day with the bobcat. It was humid and hot again today (but it’s going to get down into the high 80s in the next couple days – we’re looking forward to the cold! LOL!).
They removed tornado deposited debris. Um, those ‘two little boys’ are characters. They need a little prodding to stay on task, I’m afraid! They were having light saber fight on the way to the debris pile… Tornados leave debris in the most unusual and inconvenient places. But Jake didn’t mind cleaning it up for the McCs! anybody need a sleeping bag?… There were a lot of trees that were blown over and needed to be removed. Two of the saws came out, and the guys LOVE the new lightweight chainsaw! It was the saw of choice all day; I hear that Jake commandeered it the whole time…
The girls safety pinned sets together for me, and snapped up the snaps on little boy outfits and sleepers, and folded and put the outfits in the correct boxes. I couldn’t get sets matched up fast enough to keep all 3 of them occupied all the time…nice Em. (wish they had an eye-roll emoticon!)
Even the camera got boring, so they caught beetles and pillbugs and put them in the safety pin container… The little girls lost interest in their small pets, and set them on a table and forgot about them. Some little boys came in and wanted to take the bugs home with the toys they chose – they promised to take good care of the, but their mom refused! Poor kids! 😉
The girls decided they must be hungry after spending a couple of hours in their little cage, and tried to feed them Cheez-Its, but finally released them into the wild for fear they would perish of hunger. (oh the drama)
I didn’t get it quite finished today, but you can see the floor now, and there are 4 large see-thru containers out on the floor for people to sift through if they have littles!
Also, today we found a home for boxes and boxes of donated medical supplies for the lost/abandoned animals, which I will deliver tomorrow. We also have a home for several boxes of travel sized shampoo/conditioner/soaps at a local church that offers showers to those effected and to volunteers; Eli tried to drop it off tonight, but they were closed early, so we will try to get those out tomorrow too. There were a few heavy winter clothes donated that we just do not have room for, so we found a charity that would accept them, and Eli was able to deliver them this evening.
For some of the time today, I was out on the floor of the donation center. We have great people come in, and we are so glad to be able to help them, like Lorie, who came in a few days ago, then again today. She did not lose her entire house, but it was damaged, and she still doesn’t have a repair check from her insurance company. Some of these homeowners have had to pay out of pocket to get their homes livable, and are struggling until they are reimbursed. Lorie came to find out if we had any pillows or dish detergent. She came before we were open, but she only wanted a couple of things (that we hadn’t had the visit before), so I grabbed them for her. 4 items, 20 minutes, a precious soul that will know and remember that someone loves her (I hope).
There are also a few people that are memorable in other ways! LOL! Take a young girl that came in this afternoon – the first thing out of her mouth, after filling out paperwork, was, (no prompting) “Don’t judge me. I’m 18 and have 2 kids.” Pam asked her if she was affected by the tornado, and she said that she lost everything and that she was having to live with her parents. We asked how old her kids were, and she said 1 and 2 (we always ask questions to show interest and to help make sure they get what they need), and Pam asked what size diapers they wear, “5”. Then what size clothes (we had some that weren’t put out yet, not trying to bait her), and she said that she didn’t know exactly, but that she would know them if she saw them! LOL! I went to help someone else, but heard that in the course of her and Pam’s shopping, Pam asked her how many months apart her kids were (Pam is a sweety, and loves to chat with the people as they ‘shop’). The girl said, “six”.
Yep, you read that right, SIX. 2 kids and she doesn’t even know how the whole kid thing works!!! ROFL!!!! Oh, what I would give to have been there!!! 😀 Pam, who is very unassertive and soft-spoken, looked at her and asked, ‘how does that work when they each take 9 months to grow?’ The girl looked all flustered, threw up her hands, and said, “oh, everything is just in such a mess – I can’t keep anything straight!!!” Obviously.
Then, also today, we heard from someone that had been at some meeting with the mayor of Moore. He was asking that all the donation centers either close down, or cut out ALL UPC codes. Apparently Walmart has asked the city to make this request as the nearest Walmart has had nearly $150 THOUSAND dollars of packaged water returned. They haven’t even sold that much packaged water yet this year. As Pam and I set down near the diaper table, she cutting out UPC symbols on diaper packages, and I using a huge Sharpie on boxes of wipes (which already had small lines through the UPCs), someone came up to us and said that it really wasn’t a big deal, and that we didn’t need to mark the donations. They were pretty empathetic about their opinion that Walmart wasn’t really losing money because someone, somewhere, had purchased that water; those big corporations were just mad that they weren’t going to make as much money on those items as they could have. And this person was fine with people coming in and getting some donations, then returning them and using the money for other items. I asked Vaughn later what his take on it was, as he was there part of the time, and he even thought it was weird. 🙁
I don’t know what I’m missing, but Walmart has already donated One Million Dollars to Moore in cash and items, and I’m sure they are helping out their employees too! That seems pretty generous to me, and we are not totally socialist yet – Walmart doesn’t HAVE to donate Anything! If people keep this up, generous corporations may not continue to be so generous, having to consider their profit losses in inflated returns as part of their donation amount. 🙁 It’s so sad because the untruthful people are going to make it harder for those that really need the help to receive the donated items and monies that they truly need.
I’ll admit, I’m struggling with this. While most of the people receiving help are on the level, it does bother me that there are others that would take advantage of such a horrible tragedy as this for their own gain. 🙁
I really think that there needs to be someone/some entity that goes into these areas, Immediately after the devastation, and sets up some sort of coaching/training advisory that goes into the donation centers and helps them how to best set up the center as to protocol and communication. A network that catalogs unusual donations and works to find them destinations where they will be used for their intended purpose/recipient. Coaches that warn people right away about fraud, and gives guidelines and helps set up verification processes to insure that donations for victims (and volunteers!) get to those affected. If certain procedures were instituted at the beginning of the recovery process, I think that many fewer people would attempt to abuse the system. It would also streamline donations getting out on the field to the most needy areas, and give some accountability as to where the donations are ending up also.
There are so many thousands of people giving so incredibly generously to those in the wake of these disasters, and we are so blessed to be able to see that incredible, selfless giving in action.
In other news, Eli and Beth had a fabulous day volunteering with SP! Their ‘Bandana Team’ has decided that they are the Very Best Team out in the field because they get along so great and have such fun! LOL!Since I wasn’t there, I can’t tell you about it, but Beth put up a blog post about their day earlier tonight, and you can check it out there. 🙂
Please keep praying for the people of Moore…