The days have turned into weeks, and soon the first month mark will be here since the flooding began in Louisiana. Some still have water in their homes! For those who have suffered loss and those who are working tirelessly to house, feed, clothe and help them put their lives back together, FLOOD FATIGUE is a real thing.
In case you aren’t local and the national news made us but a blip on your radar, you should know that 20 inches of rain dumped over our area affecting 20 parishes, damaging over 146,000 homes, killing 13 people. It’s estimated only 21% of the damaged homes had flood insurance as they were not in a flood plain. If you drive down any road around here you will smell the stench of floodwater and mold growth, and see towering piles of debris strewn along the roads waiting for pick up and for adjusters to assess the damage. It seriously looks like a third world, war-torn country.
If you were not affected and your home was spared, you have an obligation to humanity and your neighbors. Our neighbors are living with friends or neighbors in a cramped room or travel trailer or shelter. They live this 24-7 and it’s a nightmare from which they cannot awake.
Flood relief is NOT a spectator sport.
This is not the time to sit back and just thank your lucky stars. This is not the time to resume to life as normal. This is not the time to binge watch Netflix. This is not the time to ignore the devastation that your neighbors are suffering.
At first I was overwhelmed at how many people I know and care about were affected and I had no idea where to begin. But I was reminded that I am not Red Cross, I am not FEMA, and I can’t help them all. But we can all collectively focus our efforts to have impact. I was reminded of the starfish story.
A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”
The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.
— Adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren C. Eiseley
15 things you can do to help with flood relief:
- Bring sandwiches to your neighbors as they clean up.
- Grill up some hot dogs and bring them to a neighborhood rebuilding.
- Drive through an affected neighborhood with cold waters and Gatorades.
- Walk the block and see if anyone can use your extra cleaning supplies.
- Offer baked goods and treats to relief workers.
- Bring your clean, in good condition, gently worn clothing items to a charity.
- Bring your heavily worn items and blankets with holes to an animal shelter.
- Adopt a family and buy them things on their Amazon wish list.
- Find a family in need, make an Amazon wish list for them.
- Volunteer once a week at your local church sorting, handing out, cleaning up, etc.
- Find friends who have flood victims staying with them and bring them a meal.
- Bring those same friends laundry detergent. Or extra toilet paper.
- Offer to babysit so the parents can both go meet the adjuster or contractor.
- Pass out immune boosters like Emergen-C and vitamins.
- Buy gift cards and hand them out to those in need.
None of these are difficult to do and do not require great time nor financial commitment. All it requires is a willingness to DO SOMETHING for your fellow neighbors in need.