It occurred to me yesterday, after we posted the information about our raffle to raise money for those affected by the tornadoes in the Southeast a few weeks ago, that many of you reading may not have heard much about these storms. The news media is fickle, and even down here in Tennessee where there was quite a bit of damage, the local news is hardly reporting about the devastation a few weeks later.
Have you seen the pictures? Entire blocks of houses destroyed, businesses pulled up by their foundations and destroyed. Thousands of folks are homeless and the cost of the destruction is estimated to be in the billions.
Photos from JamiesRabbits, through Creative Commons
Here is a photo slide show (from Huffington Post)
And here is a video:
This cause is near and dear to my heart, I have lived in the South my whole life. And on the day these storms came through the Southeast, I spent much of the afternoon in the closet with my two small children.
I don't usually get overly excited by the tornado warnings this time of year, we'd had several weeks of severe weather already. But something about this day in particular, and hearing that tornadoes were sighted within a few miles of my house, made me pull everything out of the bedroom closet (the safest spot for us to go). My five year old was brave at first, excited to read his Pokemon book by flashlight. I nursed Silas to keep him still, while trying to hear the turned-up TV news station for the "all clear".
After about 15 minutes of listening to the tornado sirens and hearing the wind whip around the house, Ian started to cry, and asked me if we could buy him new Legos if our house was hit by the tornado. For the first time, I started to really feel scared too. I took a deep breath and told him we would be alright, and made a joke to distract him. (On that note, have any of you had to keep a fiesty almost two year old in a closet for 15 minutes, in the dark? Oh my word.)
And then, the sirens stopped going off, and the weatherman said it was OK to come out of our "safe place". I breathed a sigh of relief and went about my business as normal, clueless about what was going on just a few hours away. It wasn't until the next day that I understood how lucky we were in our part of Tennessee, because the devastation in other areas of the Southeast was enormous. When I saw the photos of homes destroyed and children holding onto a single stuffed animal that was salvaged from the wreckage, I thought about Ian's tears and the fear that had crept into my own heart that afternoon we waited out the storms in the closet.
In today's fast-paced world where the news cycle only lasts about 24 hours, it's easy to put this kind of thing out of your mind. But y'all, the need for donations and help is still there whether or not it's being talked about on your local TV station.
Photo from JamiesRabbits, through Creative Commons
Can you help? We started working on our raffle as soon as the damage from the storms became evident, and have had some really amazing things donated. Your $10 donation gets you one raffle ticket, and you have FOUR chances to win prize packages worth anywhere from $100 to $350.
Go HERE to check out the raffle items and to get simple instructions for donating and entering!