“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
— Charles Dickens
Imagine that on Oct. 9, 2016, the day after Hurricane Matthew devastated our county, another Matthew had hit with the same force and fury.
And then a third time on Oct. 10.
Imagine as well that the 50 inches of rain that had fallen during those three days didn’t affect only 130,000 Robeson County residents, but 60 times that number. If your brain can stretch far enough, just ponder the suffering and the need.
You don’t have to squeeze your eyes and imagine all that because it is unfolding for most of us on television, and it is reality for more than 7 million people in and near Houston who are having to fight for their life through Hurricane Harvey, which we can only hope is a once-in-forever event.
There is much that we would like to forget about Hurricane Matthew, but one thing we hope outruns time is memories of how others came to the aid of this county. The floodwaters had not yet even crested and trucks loaded with items needed for survival were already lining up, trying to find a safe pathway to local warehouses where they were being collected for distribution.
Almost 11 months later, that benevolence continues as does our recovery.
Now it is our time to give back.
Robeson County residents, more than most, know what is needed in Texas in the immediate aftermath of the storm, basic supplies, and here is a partial list — non-perishable foods, bottled water, cleaning supplies, bleach, clothes, diapers, new underwear, personal female products, hygiene items, baby products, dog and cat food, pillows, and blankets.
The National Association of Christian Churches is collecting those items at warehouse No. 4 at 2130 W. Fifth St. from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. Plans are to send trucks to the disaster area every two days; the first one left on Tuesday.
We are sure there will be other local efforts to collect similar supplies and get them to Texas, and as we become aware of them, we will share with our readers.
And no, these items are no longer needed locally; what is needed locally is donations of furnishings for people who are returning to their homes, but don’t have a bed, couch, television, etc. So if you can contribute to that effort, call Veronica McLoud at 910-671-3833 to find out how to do so.
There is another quick and tremendously easy way to help Harvey’s victims, and that is by texting the word HARVEY to 90999, which will result in a $10 donation to the American Red Cross, which you can trust to use your money wisely. If you want to do more, visit the American Red Cross’ website — or whatever charitably organization your prefer — and do what you can afford.
The $10 donation you make with a text will be billed to you by your provider, and you probably won’t even notice. We are talking about sacrificing the cost of a lunch to help what will be tens of thousands of people, perhaps hundreds of thousands who, like so many Robesonians last year, will be left with essentially nothing.
Charles Dickens got it exactly right. We can think of few things that would add more meaning to your next few moments than sending that text.