Hurricane Helpers

In times of trouble, you can’t go wrong with a healthy dose of Mr. Rogers. If anyone can find a silver lining in a hurricane, it’s a friendly, red cardigan-wearing puppeteer who can calmly explain divorce to children.

So, in the wake of Hurricane Florence, I turned to our friendly neighbor for some much-needed advice. As he said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”” So I went looking. And, as always, Mr. Rogers was right.

In Birmingham, Alabama, the vast majority of my friends play or have played in the Birmingham APA Pool League. When I asked APA players and league owners for help with hurricane relief, they rallied and donated a ton of stuff – clothes, shoes, coats, socks, bedding, towels, diapers, first aid supplies, dust masks, food, toilet paper, paper towels, laundry baskets, reading glasses, school supplies, pet food, body wash, and cases upon cases of water. They also raised $650 for even more supplies!

hurricane helpers

A few of our Hurricane Helpers

Then it was my turn to be a helper – by going on a shopping spree! I purchased shampoo, deodorant, disposable razors, feminine products, toilet paper, a multitude of cleaning supplies (Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner = awesome), work gloves, and Band-Aids.

But the helping didn’t stop there. We were surrounded by people who wanted to give! Our kids’ pediatric dentist, Dr. Tabitha Jarman Gatrey, donated cases full of toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss. The owner of Industrial Mining Supply, Phillip Bradford, donated 500 contractor bags and multiple cases of cleaning supplies.

hurricane helpers

Unloading donations

We got so much help that I had palettes of supplies – far too much for my little car to handle. With the help of the APA Ladies League, we filled up an entire U-haul trailer. The Sunday after the storm, I put on my trucker hat and hauled all of our donations up to Rocky Point, North Carolina. There, the Riley’s Creek Baptist Church distribution center gave our items directly to those most in need.

Unfortunately, sometimes those most in need are those closest to you. We know coworkers, vendors, friends, and family members who have lost everything and are now trying to salvage what they can and rebuild their lives.

hurricane helpers

More Hurricane Helpers

In fact, one of our regular carriers, based in Wilmington, lost everything – her entire house – due to flooding.  Cheryl handles our container shipments every week from Castle Hayne, NC to Charleston, SC.

While visiting with Cheryl, I learned that she lives in Rocky Point, NC, so I directed her to the church where I dropped off donations.  She went to the church and met with none other than my mother!  I’m pleased to report that the Baptist Men’s Association is going to help Cheryl rip out sheetrock and flooring and do temporary repairs on the roof so she can dry out her home and begin to remodel.

Based on my experience, I know that helpers are all around us. I also know that people are still struggling, and will be for months to come. Let’s keep helping.

Happy Monday,