Thursday, October 22, 2009

It takes a village

Hello everyone!  I've missed you all!  But once again, I am to blame for not "initiating" and opening the lines of communication. However, I have a good reason....

You may have heard on the news a few weeks ago, that many, many Georgia families had become victims of flooding due to several days of continued rain fall.  It still continues to baffle all of us Georgians, as a couple years ago, we had just the opposite as an issue. We hadn't had rain in several months and were in a drought.  In fact, we weren't even allowed to water our lawns or wash our cars, in an effort to conserve water. The major lakes here, such as Lake Lanier, Lake Allatoona and many more, were WAY below level.

Well, due to the most recent rain fall, Georgia being in a major drought is a distant memory. NOW...there's too much water!  So much so that several lakes, roads, businesses, homes and schools were flooded.

Fortunately, our home had no problems with flooding. However, our backyard did get a little swampy.  But again, our home was never threatened by the overflow of waters. There were many roads not too far from us that, due to all the constant raining and standing water, were compromised and in turn, collapsed and/or became sinkholes. 

Several counties, including ours, closed schools early. Some, in fact, stayed closed for a couple of days. 

As I mentioned, several schools were flooded...some worse than others. But the worse by far, was a school not too far from where we live.  Clarkdale Elementary was the hardest hit in our county.  Take a look at this picture of the school sign...
This is one of the oldest schools in our county and happens to have been built on a flood plain.  So needless to say, this school has been flooded before, but NEVER to the extent that it was this time.

Here are some more pictures of Clarkdale after the rain took a couple of days off.

Can you imagine your school being under water like this? There were homes in this area that suffered the same or similar fate.  In the news interviews, you could just see how devastating this was to so many families.  There were about 400+ children at this school.  All of which had to be moved to other schools. Kindergarten - 2nd grade went to one school.  And 3rd - 5th grade went to another. This meant that some children would be separated from their siblings.  EVERYTHING was lost in this school. Several families also lost everything. The normal, everyday things that are needed for school were lost.

The school where Jayla goes, along with other schools in our county came together and had a school supply and clothes drive for the flood victims of Clarkdale Elementary.  The response was OVERWHELMING!  And I mean that in a really good way :-). 

Considering that these days, times are kinda hard for everyone, it was amazing how people rose above their own needs to extend a helping hand by way of donations.

Jayla loves "sharing" the clothes that she has outgrown with other people. So it was a very easy decision for her to give up some of her things. She was so excited that her clothes would be given to another little girl who now had nothing.

Last week I received an email from a friend whose daughters go to school with Jayla. She mentioned that all the clothes that had been donated now needed to be sorted and made available to the flood victims.  So last Friday, she and I met at another local elementary school and started sorting all of the items that had been donated by people in and around our county.

You guys, there were TONS of bags and boxes of donated items in this one little room. Here is a picture from mid-way through our first day of sorting.

The above picture doesn't even show HALF of what we received and had to sort. See all the book bags on that back wall? ALL of those are packed full of school supplies. The blue bins are what we are sorting the clothes in.

There I am, tossing some clothes in the "Girls - Size small" bin :-).  See the boxes on the table? There are about 20 - 30 of these boxes, jam PACKED with clothes. All of these came from a county about 50 miles away from us. On our first day volunteering, these 20 - 30 boxes were lined up outside the room we are working in. We just got to these boxes on Tuesday of this week. There was SO much stuff in the room that we had to get through before we could even get to those :-). 

This next picture was taken just before we left for the day last Friday. These bins are full of the clothes we sorted and folded.

See all the bins with lids on them? That's what we've gotten sorted as of noon today. We've been busy! :-)

My goodness, I can't begin to tell you how humbling this has been. I don't think that I take what I have for granted. I sure hope I don't, anyway. But just to see all of this stuff and to know that it'll be going to people who have lost EVERYTHING, makes you look at things a little differently. So far, the 5 days that we've been working on this, about 4 children have come into this room needing SOMETHING. A couple had holes in their shoes and we were able to give them a nice new (or gently used) pair. One kid had been wearing shoes that were 2 1/2 sizes too small for him AND they had holes in the sole. Another child came in for some jeans and a teacher came in to get about 4 coats for some kids who don't have one. It's been AMAZING!!!

I have throughly enjoyed myself. I volunteer at Jayla's school in some capacity every week. In fact, this week, I've been working at both schools. There's still plenty of work to do for the clothing drive.  I'll be there for a while tomorrow and I'm sure there's enough to do that will take us into next week.

I must admit though, I've been exhausted lately! But it's so rewarding to know that in some way, other than just by donating clothes, I'm making a difference in some childs life.

SO, now you all see why I've been neglecting my blogging "duties". :-)  I've truly missed you all.  I've been periodically putting a status of what's going on with me on Facebook. So for those of you who are on know how busy I've been. Busy with volunteering and soccer when weather permits.

ANYWAY...sorry for the long post. But I just wanted to share all of this with you. And in closing, I'd like to request that you keep all of the flood victims and their families in your thoughts and prayers. Sometimes we don't realize what we have until it's gone. I feel SO sad for the children that were affected. But hopefully, they will see the good that's being done for them through prayers and the volunteers.

Thank you all and I'll be talking to you soon. Enjoy the rest of your week and have a great weekend.


Gretchen said...

I'm so glad you've been absent, Dawn. For though I've missed you, I know you've been right where you needed to be. How awful for those families. But also--how wonderful to see humanity pulling together to clothe, feed and shelter one another. Something biblical about that, no? ;)

Lynilu said...

Well, OK, I think you have a very good excuse for being away.

Wow. Unimaginable conditions. I'm glad there are people like you to give time or material goods to help others. What would the world be otherwise? Sad to say the very least.

Bless you and all those like you. :)

Jude said...

wow, i think we forget about this kind of thing when it is no longer "front page news"... thanks for the reminder!

Monogram Queen said...

It's always heartwarming to read something like this and never fails to lift my spirit. Thank you for sharing Dawn. My heart does go out to the flood victims. We went through flooding in Pennsylvania after Hurricane Agnes and it is no fun at all.

Babydoll said...

Oh MY!!! That was so awful, but I am happy that the community was able to bond together during such a time of need. {{HUGS}}