After the hurricane, many people are in need.  Locally, we’re banding together and people who have had power restored are actually lending out their generators to other neighbors who are not so lucky, taking folks into to their houses, and generally acting like the community we know we all are, but occasionally gets lost in the ebb and flow of daily life and petty differences.

Giving financial support to groups like the Red Cross is important.  But I’d like to make a “pitch” for also sending donations and support to the Salvation Army.  When I worked for the Super Bowl, the Salvation Army set up mobile kitchens to feed police officers, security people, first aid folks, and other workers three meals a day, to keep the folks on the ground going while they helped others.  Behind the scenes, the Salvation Army helps care for those in need, and just as importantly, care of those first responders and volunteers as well, making sure they have what they need to keep on going during long hours and often tough circumstances.

When you are considering what you might do to support folks and relief efforts, please don’t forget about the Salvation Army as a key player in disaster relief.  Like the Red Cross, they have an excellent Charity Watch rating, but I think their support role for communities, emergency workers and others working to help restore order in a disaster, making sure people are fed when needed, is overlooked.

I also want to say thanks for all the power workers, emergency personnel, police, fire, safety, national guardsmen, doctors, nurses and more – even our governmental leaders, who are working together beyond expectations to make things better as quickly as possible for as many people as possible.

We were relatively unaffected by the storm- some water in the house, and loss of power for less than a day.  But as we looked at an uncertain return of power, I had to make some choices about what I would do if the problem stretched out for days.  I had friends who immediately offered to take us in, in case we did not get power back, and I am so grateful for them, and I hope to be able to pay that generosity forward to anyone else in need as well.  When you’re not sure if you’ll be able to keep your kids warm at night, not a lot else seems to matter.  When you have heat and light restored, at least for a day or so, it seems like a luxury until we naturally start to take it for granted again.

If you can, please be generous with your neighbors, and with organizations who are well placed to serve and help out during disasters.  They have this down to a science, but they need our financial support to make sure the basics of food clothing and shelter are met so people can start putting their lives back together.  Even small donations can help.

Hopefully this storm and the magnitude of the destruction will show us once again the importance of coming together and being the best of who we are, regardless of how we identify ourselves demographically.  Perhaps that’s the most important lesson we all need, just in advance of election day.