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Responding to natural disasters

POSTED: May 29, 2013 6:56 p.m.
 

As I watch the images streaming from Moore, Okla., after the horrific tornado this past Monday, my heart aches.

As I write this, some sweet children are still missing as emergency responders search their elementary school. I cannot imagine their fear as that storm ripped through their school, a place we all send our children to thinking they are safe. What must those parents be going through as they wait to learn if their children are alive.

Seeing the devastation and listening to the eyewitnesses harkens back to the senseless shooting and tragedy in Newtown, Conn. All of those precious children and those teachers who were gunned down. The pain in that town and in the hearts of those people must still be crushing.

Thinking of the numerous natural disasters and tragedies that befall these communities always involves people talking about their faith.

I just saw a survivor in Oklahoma speaking about what he went through as he rode out the storm in his home. He then drove with four flat tires to the school his 9-year-old daughter attended. He learned she had been evacuated to a church and was finally reunited with her.

When asked what he would do next, he said, “We will pray and ask God to help us. That is what we ask every day and will continue to.” What a testimony.

It is easy to feel helpless when you hear about these stories. We are far away from Oklahoma and most of us don’t know anybody who was affected.

What can we do to help that community? One simple thing we can do is to give blood.

The Red Cross does such an amazing job of rushing to the scene of tragedies such as the one in Oklahoma. They offer shelter, basic necessities, food, water and emotional support to those in need. The organization relies on people like us to give the gift of life so doctors can aid people all over the country.

When our 20-year-old daughter was just 11, she was seriously injured in a horseback riding accident. She lost quite a bit of blood and ended up needing several pints. I have never been so grateful that complete strangers made the effort to donate blood, which helped save our daughter’s life.

When most of us give blood, we don’t think about the fact that there is a sick person somewhere, possibly a sweet child, who desperately needs that blood and might fully recover because of receiving it.

I love that a woman, Clara Barton, founded the Red Cross in Washington, D.C., in 1881. No doubt she would marvel at the many wonderful things the organization does on a daily basis, both here in our country and around the world.

It is noteworthy that the Red Cross is the nation’s largest blood collection organization, gathering about 6.5 million units of blood each year.

We are blessed to live in a country that has so many resources to help those in need.

Won’t you join me in making an effort to give blood this week. Somewhere, perhaps in Oklahoma, there is a grateful person, who is prayerfully thanking blood donors just like you.

Many of us don’t have extra money to donate to causes such as this, but almost all of us can give blood. And we can all certainly offer prayers to our brothers and sisters enduring so much pain.

 

Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at contact@adlenrobinson.com.

 

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