The flood of 2016 in S.E. Louisiana started with rain and one of the worst electrical storms I’ve ever experienced in the Baton Rouge area. The zaps of lightening sounded like an artillery attack. The Comite and Amite rivers overflowed their banks, and bayous that normally drained into them had nowhere to go, backed up, and also overflowed. Land that was NOT in a FEMA-designated flood zone flooded. People narrowly escaped with their lives and the clothes on their backs.
My husband and I were in a state of shock as we watched the devastation unfolding on TV. The flooding came as a surprise, just as it did with Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Only, this flooding wasn’t caused by a hurricane. A deluge of rain caused this catastrophic event. Rain. Lots, and lots of rain.
So—and here’s the whole point to this blog post—what can YOU do to help others when a disaster like this happens? Plenty.
- You say you have faith? Put it to practice and ask God to show you what you should do to help.
- Realize that you can’t help everyone, but you can help ONE. Or two, or three…
- Keep your eyes on the local news. They will tell you where the shelters are and what’s needed at each one. You don’t have to buy a mountain of supplies – just what you can afford. Every bit helps.
- Love animals? Find a shelter where lost and found dogs and cats are housed, and volunteer to walk the dogs or sit and sooth a frightened cat.
- Volunteer to be a Red Cross worker. If this is your calling, sign up online and be ready when the call for help comes.
- Help a friend, or a friend of a friend of a friend, whose house is damaged. Maybe you have zero skills in carpentry, electrical, construction, etc. But you can swing a hammer and help bust out wet drywall, use a flat shovel to scrape up flooring, or help roll up wet carpeting and help kick it to the curb.
- Fix sandwiches, pack a cooler with water, and bring them to that friend’s house when you go to help.
- Do you have a washer and dryer? You could help by doing your friend’s laundry. Clothes that have been through a flood need to be washed and dried quickly before they become moldy.
- My mother-in-law always used to say she felt like everything was in control if she had everything she needed to make spaghetti. Good idea. What do you have in your cabinets that you could use to make a meal for someone? It’ll mean a lot to the recipient.
- Here’s my favorite. Perfect the art of the hug. Yes, the hug. Hold that person a couple of seconds longer than you normally would. Let your heart beat next to theirs for a while. Whisper something in their ear – “I’m sorry you’re going through this…” Let them know you care. Let them FEEL it.