Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Disaster Relief and Theological Questions

We have a tremendous outpouring of love for the victims of last week's storms. Neighbors helping neighbors, rival schools helping rival schools, and both in-state and out-of-state groups and individuals sending donations.

Today I got to see firsthand one of the donation sites in action as I went in to serve with them to sort items. I learned firsthand of some of the most needed items. I learned firsthand about things that are unacceptable. I learned that this is a multigenerational, multicultural effort. And I realized firsthand some potentially unmet needs.

The donation center receives loads of items in boxes, bags, suitcases and even pallets on the back of semis. Today I got to see three giant paper towel boxes come through from out-of-state full of those tiny Big G cereals, socks, diapers, facial tissues, toilet paper, Hot Wheels cars, bandages and blankets. It was a touching moment.

In the midst of it, I wondered aloud, what about those on gluten free and allergy free diets?

I thought videotapes were odd since many of the people lost their homes so what would they do with that anyway?

Clothing running small which means larger people might be understands.

Some people just throw things out with no care. Too much trash in the midst-especially with underwear. I shuddered at the thought that someone would actually dare donate used underwear. I mean, even the thrift stores don't take used socks and underwear. If you wouldn't buy it.... Lots of baby clothes but not a lot of maternity clothes.

Very little pet supplies. Families often get separated from their pets and the pets are in foster homes. Between the families who lost their pets and those fostering the pets, pet supplies are needed.

Diabetics, asthmatics, children and adults with ADHD-do any of the victims have their needed medications? Medical devices? Medical braces? Over-the-counter vitamins and minerals? Antihistamines? Inhalers?

What about can openers for cans?

How about a stuffed animal for the child who lost everything? They need something to cuddle that is their very own.

Eyeglasses?

Are they registered in medical alert programs?

What about phone charging?

We have only just begun. We have a long way to go. But I have seen love in action.

Are there any Deaf who can't find their interpreters? Are there any who have weekly shots or infusions?

Blood drives and bone marrow drives are starting. Clothing and food drives.

I learned multiple-item care packages often get sorted. They are great if you can personally deliver them, but not so great to donate. They get sorted.

Clothes clothes clothes. What about more immediate needs other than clothes?

Not just the victims but also the volunteers.

How can I help when I can't do heavy duty physical labor?

I feel helpless and discouraged. Frustrated that I can't do more right now. I want to but this is one time we all see the fragility of life, and not just life but living with immune deficiency.

Last week, I thought I had the answers and understood things. This week, I have no answers. I don't understand anything.

Why did God allow my area to go relatively unscathed but killed my friends and family or those of my friends and family? Why did God spare me and not them?

It could've been me.

Am I ready? How do I prepare?

My cat. My dog. They're my babies. My mom. My friends. How do I keep us all safe? Can we be safe? What if I lose them and everything else?

Why? How?

What can I do?

What can I say?

When will the nightmares go away? Will they ever?

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