The town we live in, Great Falls, Virginia, has a wonderful community based organization that is tough to describe. It is a community based referral service that is subscription driven. You can find positive referrals for anything from Chimney Sweeps to Birthday Party locations for toddlers. The other aspect to it,is Neighbors helping Neighbors. Someone is in distress, the casserole brigade comes a-knocking. You need someone to sit with you during chemo, just ask and in about 20 minutes you will have 100 offers. Someone is down and out with no transportation? There will be an ride offer or an offer of a donated car in about 3 minutes. Several months ago, I had some family members staying in the area with their 2 small children. I put out a request for a crib to use for a month- in literally 5 minutes I had 6 offers via e-mail. It is magic how this thing works. Kind of like knit bloggers. We see a need and we fill it. Just like Give a Little. As of this writing they are up to $55,000. Seriously. Do Not Mess With The Knit Bloggers. If you have not been there, go NOW. We will be here when you get back. No, really, go! Shoo! Hurry up now!
So back to Neighbors. Sharon, who runs it sent out a request for donations. They had a truck and an employee willing to drive it all the way from Northern Virginia to the Gulf Coast. After tirelessly working, she found two locations, both in Mississippi where there were contacts and they would accept our donations.
So today, another gal and I, along with Sharon, greeted all the people donating, separated the items by type, size, gender. Basically any way you could imagine. I think every person in the Great Falls Area who has ever had a baby donated diapers, wipes, sippy cups and pacifiers. Sharon, sweet thing that she is, was worried that no one would donate today. Pshaw! People were amazing. They cleaned out their closets and then sorted and labeled by size and gender. They went to Costco, they went to Target, they went to any place that had anything that was usable for someone who has nothing. One person brought about 20 brand new bras. There were ponytail holders and floating flash lights and Chef Boyardee and water and baby formula. And gently used men”s work clothes. There were the kids who with their mom cleaned out their piggy banks and went to the dollar store. 30 each of men’s and women’s deodorant. 75 disposable razors. 20 bottles of generic Advil. There was a lot more than that from the kids but my mind boggles and I can’t recount it all. I tell you that mom is doing it right as these kids were awesome.
Another Mom brought her kids in and they had raided their piggy banks and cash supply to give money to help people. Brava Mama!
So the truck that was not going to be ready to go until Friday or Saturday will now be leaving Tuesday for Mississippi. Clothes, shoes, bras, sanitary pads, underwear, onesies, peanut butter, gatorade. Can openers- these people need can openers. There was one lady, a dental hygenist who donated hundreds of single use toothpaste tubes. Like ketchup packets only longer and full of Crest. There was one man who donated many many things including his recently deceased father’s cane. I asked him if he was sure, if he wanted to keep it for sentimental reasons it would be fine. Nobody could fault him. He looked at me and (with an ever so slight hitch in his voice) said, No, it will do more good down there.
As I have been mesmerized by the horror in the media, today I was mesmerized by an out pouring of a small community who could not wait to do more.
And still it is not enough. We will do more. Hang tough Gulf Coast, Neighbors is on its way.
this is also posted here