Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wonderful Wednesday

Today I got to do some of my favorite activities. I made bank deposits twice. Gave three sacks of canned food to the Food Pantry. Watched Beth Moore’s Wising Up: A study of Proverbs DVD with my Bible study ladies at my church. Today’s subject was for wives and it was excellent advice and insight. Afterward, I went to lunch with two dear friends and prayer buddies. I shopped for a toddler girl who I will never know, but who will receive a shoe box full of cute things, generously provided by Samaritan’s Purse. Every year since my daughters were little our family has participated in Operation Christmas Child, also known at our house as Operation Shoe Box. I love choosing a gender and age bracket each year and filling a box with essentials like soap, towels, washcloths, combs, toothpaste and toothbrush, flashlights and batteries. After the essentials are purchased I head for the goodies. I can usually fit in crayons, markers, pencils (colored ones), tablet, stuffed animal or doll, clothing (pants and hoodie, Dora Explorer panties), tiny purse with hair jewelry, and lots of hard candy. Ironically, there is no room left for shoes in a shoe box with all the other items carefully rolled, unpackaged, and fitted “just so” without a single space left over. We usually top it off with a family photo and a letter to our Christmas Child.

Please notice that I made two bank deposits. Through the Rowdy Girls Mommy, our oldest daughter, I have become involved with a woman in Austin, “L”, who is helping Hurricane Ike evacuees in that city. Their stories would break your heart, much like the stories of the Dominican Republic children in blogs by Pioneer Woman. Each family has its own plight, its own difficult situation with hurdles to clear before returning to Galveston. Most of them have medical needs and were evacuated from the hospital on the island to a high level care hospital in a major Texas city. Some of them have fallen through the cracks with FEMA and are either not receiving aid, have been placed on the back burner, or are not notified that their aid is being extended until well into the eleventh hour. They are stressed, living in a hotel of FEMA’s choice, at the mercy of private individuals because Texas agencies are not coming to their rescue, and being overlooked by our senatorial offices as well. “L” is undergoing cancer treatments herself, and yet she is tirelessly pursuing every path that opens for aid, for paying expenses, for caring for elderly couples, extremely young mothers with preemies, and for your regular everyday families as well.

Two families whose situations stuck in my heart are the “Grandmother family” and the “preemie family”. The first is a 60 year old grandmother with custody of 5 grandchildren and has had her elderly mom with her as well. These children are ages 8 months, 2,4,10, and 13 years. Grandmother is sincerely seeking employment.

The young preemie's mom cannot return to Galveston because the 32 week preemie is too fragile. There are no medical care facilities, no hospital, and no services in Galveston. The mold and infection risk are very high and the doctors believe that little preemie is too high risk to return. Therefore, she must look for an apartment on the mainland and has no money for deposits. Even with a medical letter of necessity from the doctors, FEMA is still dragging their feet. It was after 9 p.m. last night when extension was granted past Thanksgiving. They were prepared to be evicted at 11 a.m. today. That is just an example of the stressful circumstances.

With these and other facts gnawing at my spirit, I decided to DO SOMETHING. I know people here in my city and they are deeply loving and compassionate. I sent email to representatives of ten churches, and in due time, help arrived. I sent two Wal Mart gift cards in Monday’s mail and have another to send. By noon today over $600 in cash had been deposited in Aunt Kak’s account so she can convert it to cash for “L”. Late this afternoon I received a call from a friend whose brother lives in Austin and whose church wants to become involved directly with the evacuees. And I know this is not the end of the love pouring out. It was a wonderful Wednesday!

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