One of the things that I have come to appreciate most in my adult life about living in the North East, specifically in Southern New England is the lack weather disasters. Truly, not much happens here. We get the occasional hurricane and we’ve been smacked with a few nasty blizzards in my lifetime, but in general we are not faced with that which we cannot handle.
Sure, we get our fair share of snow. This past winter we got about 15 inches in one storm. 15 inches? Gah. That’s a dustin’, people. A dustin’.
I do concede that my husband, who is the one outside with the snow blower, may slightly disagree with that statement, and yes I would have a much different sentiment should there be no mechanical process available to displace the snow. Regardless the result would be the same: schools may be closed for a day, our employers would still expect us to go to work, and convenience stores across the entire state would be void of bread and milk due to our inherent tendency to over prepare. Then it’s over and we’re sledding, freezing bread, and building snow men should the fluffy white stuff stick around long enough for the weekend festivities.
That’s about it…until now. It wasn’t snow, it wasn’t a hurricane; it was simply a whole lot of rain.
We got a little worried at our home in Massachusetts. We have a stream just off our property that tends to swell in times of heavy rain. The water had risen further onto our property than ever before, and we woke up to a little friend enjoying a backyard visit.
The yellow building below was my grammar school. It has been vacant for some time, but under water is the playground where I used to play. Across the street you can see the steeple of my grandmother’s church.
When my father evacuated her the water had already crept its way to the driveway. When he checked on it later that evening the basement was only beginning to take on water. By that point the river hadn’t even crested yet. “What can we do? We’ll come down and help”, I kept telling him. “We’ll bring the van and our pump. We’ll save what we can.” It’s too late, was his reply. We have to wait it out. There is no sense in pumping out water that will only return. My grandmother’s church, the one she attends without fail every week is surrounded by water. I know her well enough to know that the damage to her church, and what will surely be her inability to attend mass on Easter Sunday, will break her heart more than anything that might happen to her home.
So here I am in Massachusetts, watching the news, looking at the pictures, and feeling helpless to assist the ones that I love. What can we do? We can donate to the Red Cross, which has set up 72 shelters across Southern New England to provide people with food, clothing, and a place to stay. Never for me has there been a need so close to home. I’m going to be honest, I become hesitant when considering a donation to the Red Cross. It is national relief funding and I have trouble with the thought that my donation may not directly support the relief effort that I want to aid. But then I took a closer look at their website, and you can make donations directly to their Rhode Island Chapter.
Another site I found useful, is RI Future. On this website you can learn how to get involved directly, as well as gather information on how you can obtain aid if you have found yourself a victim of this horrible disaster. Many of our friends and families are suffering. If you have been personally affected, my prayers are with you. If you have been spared, I urge you to do what is within your own means to help our neighbors who need us more than ever.
Photo Credits: All flood photos, with the exception of my little ducky friend, were not taken by me, and were borrowed from the Facebook group The Flood of 2010 fan photos.