Amidst all of the craziness with school and life, I’ve come to realize the importance of community. As my class has defined it, a community is a group of people who work together and help each other out. These past two weeks, I’ve experienced the power of a community that thrives and fulfills this definition faithfully.
People are truly amazing. In a time of crisis and great need, it astounds me how many people come together to help one another. Within a day of starting up a donation center for the families at our school, we had to switch locations due to the mass quantities coming in (and the fact that we needed a fully operating gym for PE). Teachers, students, and family members all gave up their precious weekend time to help support the families that lost their homes. Tears were shed and smiles reappeared- the sign of a new beginning.
Even though this was only just the very beginning of a very long recovery effort, it set the precedent for the events to come. Last week, I visited the new donation site to pick up some things for my students and was astonished by what I saw. Over the course of just 3 days, enough donations were collected that they filled up an entire church! There was a room designated for clothes, a room for shoes, a room for toiletries, and a room for food – each of these rooms packed with volunteers unloading, sorting, and organizing the donations as they were being dropped off. At one point, later in the week, they had to begin re-routing their donation site to other churches and businesses in the area. Wow- what a problem to have… too many donations!
Not only did people support us by donating these necessities, we also found other places around our town playing leading roles in the relief effort… Rec centers and churches opening up their showering facilities, Laundromats offering free loads of laundry, the Food Bank collecting and dispersing food, volunteers passing out flyers on how to help, and neighbors, friends, and family helping wade through the treacherous waters to collect belongings and lending shoulders to cry on when they were needed most. All of these things just prove what a great community I live in and teach in. As one of my friends said, “It’s nice to know that goodness spreads” and let me tell you, goodness most definitely does spread!
I am overwhelmed and so incredibly grateful for our community. Our community – a group of people who work together and help each other out. But we are more than just a community- we are a family.