Friday, April 19, 2013

Tragedy: Don't Say, Just Do

It's been a wild, dizzy week that feels more like a month.  Boston. West, Texas.  Ricin.  The crazy weather in our Midwest hometowns.  Personally, I'm also trying to wrap my head around the sudden death on Monday of a former coworker who was one year younger than me and left two young children and a distraught wife.



What to say?  Nothing.  There are no words to convey the enormity of each situation.  It's best to focus on the phrase "Actions speak louder than words."  Don't talk - do.  Here's what you can do:

1. Pray, pray, pray.  This is great for every situation.  No matter what your faith background is, you can call out each of these tragedies by name.  It's the most powerful tool you have.

2.  Give financially.  The injured in Boston are in for a very long ordeal, especially if they have lost a limb (as so many have).  Prosthetics are very expensive and not always covered by insurance.  Modifying a home is seldom covered by insurance, nor is modifying a car.  There are two established "crowdraising" websites designed to raise money for various causes - Give Forward and Go Fund Me.  On Go Fund Me, Boston victim funds are categorized under Believe in Boston and on Give Forward you can find the individual funds on the Boston Marathon Support Page.  These are legitimate funds - you can read on each site the respective safeguards.  Officials in Massachusetts have also set up a fund - The One Fund.   Thankfully, all of the efforts are proving successful, but there are plenty of costs to cover.

Likewise, the folks in West are in for the long haul.  As of the time this was written, the death toll stands at 14.  The people who lived in the apartment complex probably lost everything and don't have insurance.  There are over 50 homes to rebuild.  Saddest of all, many people will have to bury their loved ones, many who were volunteers but also the main income for their families.  Although God cannot be outdone in generosity, folks in Texas are the first in line.  I found so many places all over Texas that are finding ways to support little West.  It took a while to find information that could be used for people outside of Texas, but I finally found a great list on a local news page.  You can find the list here.  Get your kids involved and do a little fundraising.

3.  Support the Red Cross. They provide disaster relief whenever it is needed, including in Boston and Texas.  The Red Cross does not provide long term medical or housing assistance, but it's great to know they are there, ready at all times to respond immediately.  You can find more information about how you can help the Red Cross in a number of different ways by visiting their website.  Have you ever thought about giving blood?  While the victims in Boston and West don't directly benefit at this point, the local blood banks and Red Cross are somewhat depleted.  You can help even if you are not close by.  If you've never given, it's not that hard - give it a try!

4. Send your best.  Write notes and letters, online and in person.  This is also a great activity for children who might feel powerless (don't we all?).  I heard a volunteer EMT in West say he received so many calls from around the world and it meant so much to him to know even strangers care.

Send a card or note to:  United States Post Office, 301 West Columbus Street, West, Texas 76691-1440
or
One Fund Boston, Inc., 800 Boylston Street #990009, Boston MA  02199

It's always so heartbreaking when tragedy strikes.  We feel so powerless.  Our children are confused.  Our perception of goodness in the world might even be shaken.  Don't wait for someone to ask you directly.  To quote the advertising slogan, "Just do it."

cindy