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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ways to Help Your Community During Disaster Recovery



Image Credit - Jan-Mallander - CCO Public Domain Image - via Pixabay
My country is suffering the aftermath of two hurricanes as I type this.  In addition to that, there are wildfires burning in the northwest.  Lots of communities are suffering the effects of fallen trees, power outages, damaged homes, damaged fences, damaged automobiles, other damaged structures, and flooding.  Some communities are suffering unbelievable amounts of loss, including loss of life.  It is devastating.

My own community is suffering the effects of mass power outages due to fallen trees and high winds as Irma came through here in the form of a tropical storm.  It's pretty bad here but not near as bad as some other places.  Thousands and thousands have been without power for days already.  The power companies say it might be several more days before everyone's power is restored.  Things could have been much worse, but it is a difficult season here none-the-less.

I was prepared for days without power, but thankfully, my power was restored quickly.  I've stayed home and out of the way of first responders and linemen as they work to clear downed trees and restore power to an entire county - and beyond - actually, the entire state.  Anyway,  I've welcomed family members into my home for hot meals and showers.  As they made their way in and out of my home, I have followed community news via social media.  While doing so, I realized that when disaster strikes, people pull together.  At least, here they do.

There are several things you can do help your community during a disaster recovery period.

1.  Stay home.  If you've had weather watches and warnings, you should be prepared.  I know sometimes things happen suddenly, but often times, we have time to prepare.  During those times, plan ahead.  Gather supplies, food, and water.  Then, plan to stay home.  Your first responders, linemen, and others who need to get things up and running again need all the space they can get to work.  If we stay out of their way, we can get our lives back to normal much more quickly.

2.  Offer your services.  As long as you are not hindering the healing process, offer help.  Do you know how to handle a chain saw?  Do you own a crane or a lift?  Do you have a big truck for hauling away debris?    If you have proper tools for safely clearing driveways, roadways, or for helping friends and neighbors get trees off houses and other structures, then help them.  If conditions are not safe (such as power lines on the trees or even mangled in them), then wait for officials.

3.  Make hot meals.  If you happen to be blessed with power, then make some hot meals.  Either take hot meals to those with no power or offer your home.  Invite others to your house for warm nourishment.

4.  Offer hot showers.  Again, if you happen to be blessed with power, then offer hot showers to those without power.  Offer a hot shower will go a LONG way when it comes to loving your neighbors.  I honestly think that a hot shower might bless them more than food.  If you can, offer both.

5.  Encourage others.  If you can, call your family and friends to offer a few words of encouragement.  Use this time to reconnect with those you love.  These days, social media can be a powerful ministry tool.  Post updates.  Share information from your local officials.  You'd be surprised what a huge role you can play in uplifting your community via social media.  Give it a try.

6.  Check on people.  This should be obvious, but after seeing some of the news reports, I realized that sometimes people assume too much.  Don't assume your loved one or your friend is OK.  If you can't call them, go check on them.  You could save a life.

7.  Pray.  Prayer should be at the top of your list.  Pray for everyone.  Remember your first responders, your National Guard Soldiers, your county and city officials, your local factory workers, citizens who have it much harder than you.  Pray for everyone.

8.  Donate.  If you can, donate to organizations which help communities recover.  Donate to your church or local community disaster relief funds.  You can also donate to one of my favorites, Samaritan's Purse.

Whatever you can do to help without hindering the cleanup process will help your community recover.  If you have kids old enough to help, take them with you.  Teach them how to be a part of their community.  Teach them the value of serving others.  If you have the means to help, whatever that might be, just help.


Image Credit - Jan-Mallander - CCO Public Domain Image - via Pixabay

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