Most Americans are generous and will give assistance to most anything if solicited at the right time. That’s evidenced by the outpouring of support and resources given to the victims of the Houston-area flooding. Thank God, the rescuers and volunteers are getting coverage and recognition.
The iconic Fred “Mister” Rogers said it best: “My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”
There are many helpers and many more will be needed as the recovery and rebuilding take place over the next few years. But for those of us watching from afar, the best we can do is send cash.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) cautions that used clothing is rarely a useful item to send to those victims of a disaster such as Hurricane Harvey. The clothing will quickly fill warehouses or eventually end up in the landfill with the rest of the disaster debris.
There have been numerous reports from all over the world of disaster aid that rots or spoils and has to be destroyed. A few tidbits from the Center for International Disaster Information:
Financial contributions allow professional relief organizations to purchase exactly what disaster survivors most urgently need, when it is needed. Cash donations allow relief supplies to be purchased near the disaster site, avoiding delays, and steep transportation and logistical costs that can encumber material donations. Some commodities, particularly food, can almost always be purchased locally – even after devastating emergencies and in famine situations.
Cash purchases also convey benefits beyond the items procured. They support local merchants and local economies, ensure that commodities are fresh and familiar to survivors, that supplies arrive expeditiously and that goods are culturally, nutritionally and environmentally appropriate.
Many Americans respond to disasters by collecting food, clothing and household items for people in need. It is not unusual for community and civic groups to collect thousands of pounds of material. These donations require transportation — which is expensive and logistically complicated — and a pre-identified recipient on the ground who will receive the shipment, pay customs and other fees, sort and distribute the items.
Who should you support? One Maumellian suggested the Houston Food Bank (www. houstonfoodbank.org). I know one Houston pastor, Brandon Barber, who has ties to Arkansas and New Life Church and is on the streets to help rescue and rebuild (www. elevatepeople.tv). And of course, the Salvation Army, who will be there for the long haul.
From the Salvation Army of Houston website (to date): 102,131 meals served, 51,626 snacks provided and 70,887 drinks provided. They are also providing shelter and helping victims get FEMA assistance. More info at www.salvationarmyhouston.org. Make a donation today where it will have the most impact.
Hibbett Sports and Maumelle Hub
I was pleased to see that Hibbett Sports is returning to the Maumelle area. It is opening near the new Petsense store across from Wal-Mart. I was a frequent shopper when it was open here before. They are a downsized sports equipment and clothing store that usually charges higher prices than the bigger stores, but often offers decent sales.
There’s a sign next door to Hibbett Sports announcing the coming of Maumelle Hub. After some investigation, it appears to be a nutrition bar featuring healthy smoothies. From their Facebook page: “ We are a nutritional counseling center featuring a fully functional smoothie and sample bar! We offer 1-on-1 coaching, weight loss consulting, healthy active lifestyle events, full skin line, and lots of community support!!! We love helping people get healthy & fit!!!” They are set to open the end of this month.
So you can stop in at Hibbett Sports, grab some workout gear and go next door for a smoothie. Or … you could stop down the street at Sonic and grab a burger and ice cream. Choices.
Shout out to the Maumelle Fire Department
Our Labor Day started with a little suspense and anxiety. We noticed an odd smell and smoke coming out of the upstairs air conditioning return and vents. I didn’t hesitate to call 911 and the Maumelle Fire Department was here in about 10 minutes. The problem was a burned out motor on our air conditioning/heating unit in the attic. Thankfully there were no flames. Thanks to MFD. It makes it a little easier to write that community service fee check each quarter.
There is a veritable army of workers at the new Maumelle Chick-fil-A pushing toward an announced opening date of September 21. The Sonic next door doesn’t appear to be far behind. I am sure both restaurants will be packed for a while and should be a haven for kids. There’s an indoor playground and small patio at Chick-fil-A, and the Sonic features an outdoor playground and a volleyball court.
Bobby’s Café opened on Wednesday morning and early reports say it was a full house.
Internet wisdom: “Some things are better left unsaid, which I generally realize just after I say them.”
See you on the Boulevard.
Neal Moore is a public relations and advertising consultant and freelance writer. If you have a community concern, Maumelle news tip or if you’re just irritated about something, contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter, @kneelmore.