An EF-5 tornado ripped through the town of Moore, Oklahoma on May 20th in the afternoon. Twenty-three people died and hundreds were injured. Another person died of something related to the tornado. And as I started writing this, I read in the paper that a 25th person has now died due to injuries related to the tornado. We are constantly reminded of the tragedies that occurred that day.
Homes and schools were destroyed. But the town and the courage and resiliency of the people live on. Moore is like so many towns in the Midwest. The people are strong. Nothing will beat them down. I knew this from watching the news and seeing the people helping absolute strangers clear their property that had been destroyed by the tornado. And I saw it in the eyes of the parents, struggling to comfort their children or the children of others as they awaited news of their own. It was heart-wrenching.
Watching the news reports, I felt that I needed to do something. Yet, who am I? I am just a single person…no organizations backing what I choose to do. And I live over 8 hours away in south Texas. Yet, I still felt I had to DO something. I didn’t mean donating money. I always wonder just how much is actually helping those who need help. And how much is lining the pockets of those running the organizations. So, I stewed over it and decided there WAS something I could do. I could donate Pampered Chef products so the families can start making meals again. Food is comfort.
So I spoke to my mother. And she said a friend she has in Oklahoma City has a son who lost his home. And they know other families who’ve lost everything. I knew then that I was going to send packages to them. And then it steamrolled! My mother placed an order and so did I. The packages arrived at the home of my mother’s friend and they were thrilled to hand over all the goodies inside to those families. But then I mentioned to other Pampered Chef consultants I know that I was trying to help 3 families. And they donated extra products they had…cookware, tools, plates, cookbooks…on and on. And I remembered a full-size afghan I had. It was thick and plush. I donated that. And I found more products in my cabinets. Suddenly, I realized it was going to cost a fortune to mail all of that.
My sweet husband suggested we drive up on a Saturday and deliver it, spend the night in a hotel and drive back on Sunday. He gave up his weekend of relaxation to hit the road with me. We both felt humbled to be able to take all of the wonderful donations my friends had provided and deliver them to Moore.
On July 6th, we left early in the morning and drove all day. My mother’s friend called us and asked us to come to dinner at her home. Although I had never met these people, they made us feel so at home, treating us like family. And after dinner, they took us on a tour of the devastation in Moore. They showed us the path of the tornado and the freakish destruction. Houses were demolished on one side of a street and almost fully intact on the other, with just a few shingles missing from the roof. Businesses were destroyed. Memorials to the lives lost were everywhere I looked.
And then we visited the site of the Plaza Towers Elementary School. My heart broke.
The memorial grows and grows with each passing day. And the townspeople of Moore will rebuild. And their will remains strong. God bless Moore and the families who were affected in so many ways. I still feel the need to do more. And I will. It makes my heart feel just a tiny bit less broken.
“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.” – Unknown