Like they said in the post, bid if you can , but if you are unable to bid on this, and want to help, the best thing you can do is go buy a $25 Walmart gift card, and send it to the American Red Cross. I spent part of this past weekend working in the local Catholic mission, and the only thing I can tell you is that it was a life altering experience. The people who are coming in for assistance, are not the thugs you are seeing on TV, but every day people like ourselves. I had this posted in the Staff section, as I didn't want it to be misconstrued after last weekend, but maybe this will let some guys know what is going on...
I try to volunteer for as many things, as my busy schedule allows. I work for many different causes, Ducks Unlimited, Church work, coach youth sports( I retired this year after 10 seasons),stuff at my wife's hospital, pretty much if I have the time I will volunteer, I want to give back, as I have had a pretty good life. There is one aspect to my volunteering, I believe it should be nondescript; I like to keep very quiet about it. I don't want thanks, hugs, or hear anything about it. I also feel the same way about monetary donations. I go in, do what is needed, and then I like to "sneak out". I feel very strongly this way.
...however I have to share this story with somebody.....
My wife and kids have taken a last weekend trip to the beach, and I needed to be in the office(read weekend alone!). Friday, somebody at work asked me if I would be interested in riding "shotgun" down to NOLA (New Orleans) this weekend, with a truckload of supplies. Sure, what the heck, I am a type T person (anything for a thrill) so, I budgeted out a day of my weekend to do it. Saturday night the truck gets cancelled, can't get gas past Jackson MS. So, I have budgeted out a day, and decide to volunteer at the local Catholic mission (guilt for having been so rough on the penguins(nuns) growing up). I show up unannounced at 8am this morning. Sure they say, we can use all the help we can get. I follow some lady, who proceeds to tell me "We need to get this area straightened up" So, I proceed to put order in to the chaos. My other "assigned duties" are to help refugees to their car, with the items they have been given. I was a bag boy, I know what to do. (read fake it)
About 20 minutes goes by, Iam doing my deal, and out of the corner of my eye, I catch this black lady. She says, "Can you help me?" I look at her, she had just been thru hell. The whites of this lady's eyes were the color of coffee stains, you could tell she lived a hard life in the Mississippi Delta ,and she had just taken a direct hit from the hurricane of life. She is driving what used to be a '71 LTD 4 door, it also had lived a hard life, and it was on its last breath. “Yes ma’am,” I reply, ”how can I help you?” She responds with, “Is this where I donate to those poor people in Louisiana?”
I had just had the breath sucked out of me!
This lady was living in her car, if you could call it that, and wanted to help those less fortunate! “Yes ma’am I replied.” I took her donation of clothes, and thanked her.
I was humbled, like I have never been humbled in my life.
I go back to my job, sorting, stacking, organizing. The refugees start floating thru, they are basically told, take what you need, and come back when you need more. I watched these people come thru, looking at them, they weren’t thugs, they were just average everyday people like you and me. They were White, Black, Latino, Asian, old, young, men, women, children…the same mix you would find at the mall on any given day. These people weren’t lazy slugs, one man I helped had his Phd, and owned a construction company, yet only had the shirt on his back. One young mother came thru, with a 3 day old baby, the clothes on her back, and a thousand yard stare in her eyes. They were embarrassed, yet very grateful for the items. You could tell many didn’t want to take charity, one even joked with me, “I think I donated that can at last years food drive”, with a very nervous laugh. I would help carry their items out, and pack their cars full. Many were staying in shelters, some were staying with distant relatives, some had no where to stay.
I worked my ass off Monday, yet at the end of the day I didn't want it to end...I felt as if I didn't do enough, I wanted to call in sick to my real job on Tuesday, just so I could go back and help these people.
It is bad down there guys, I mean bad. I know we all have special causes, and things that ring home, but the things I saw today, cannot be described with words. If anybody you know wants to do something for these people, a couple suggestions. 1. NO STUFFED ANIMALS!, other children’s toys are fine(board games are excellent) 2.Most agencies are overwhelmed with clothes donations. Linens are needed, along with towels/wash cloths. 3. Toiletry items are always needed, especially diapers, and TP. 4. Biggie cards to Walmart/Target, any national store that they can buy underwear , etc This is actually better than a cash donation!....the entire amount get to the needed party. Just drop it off at the Red Cross, or Charity of your choice it will get to where it is needed.