10 Things You CAN DO for Flood Victims
“Actions speak louder than words” is a saying that most everyone has heard throughout their life. Most of us understand the concept behind it, but for the Louisiana flood victims this saying is taking on a whole new meaning in their life that was turned upside down.
I previously wrote a blog stating the 10 things you should not say to flood victims. Comforting words may seem appropriate, but sometimes words are not enough. In times like these, a listening ear, comforting arms, helping hands, and a shoulder to cry on is what they need most. They physically need you. In addition to telling your friend whose house flooded how sorry you are and they are in your prayers, would it be possible to do something else? Yes.There.Is.
Here are 10 things that you CAN DO for flood victims now…
Louisiana’s people are strong and proud. We here in the South despise asking for help. We do. So let’s not make them ask. Show up at their house and work beside them. Cleaning, gutting, and physically helping them rearrange their life is truly what is needed first and foremost as they begin the road of recovery. Four hands are better than two. Six hands are better than four. Take it upon yourself to offer your help and follow through until you are no longer needed.
Have you ever cleaned your house with your young kids in it? It’s extremely difficult and almost pointless. There are thousands of moms and dads entering their houses ready to get to work, but they have one problem. The daycare down the street and the school on the corner are also flooded. One of the best ways to help fellow parents is offering FREE childcare. Watch those babies so that the home that they know and love can be made new again.
Although your cousin’s house may have electricity their refrigerator, stove, and microwave were ruined in the flood. Providing a hot meal in a to-go box, bringing them snacks and drinks (water is good but give sports drinks too), or even picking them up for dinner at your house is an excellent way to say you care. A hot meal after a long day is good for the soul. (You know us Louisiana peeps love to eat!)
Imagine for a moment upon entering your flooded home after being gone for a few days and seeing your clothes washed throughout the house with the smell of mildew everywhere. Your bedspread still dry on the top, but soaking wet on the bottom. How awesome would it be for your friend to come by your house, load up all that laundry to bring it home and get busy washing? This easy way to help means saving the clothes that they love and could save tons of money. (FYI: hose off the clothes first, then wash and wash again!)
One of the most comforting things we as humans have is knowing that we have a safe place to lay our head at night. If you were fortunate enough to be spared during the flood, this is the very least you can do for victims. Offer your home, a bed or couch, a hot shower, your phone, and your computer and internet for insurance or FEMA claims. Offer the safety of your home. Please open your heart and your home for those who need comforting in this tragic time. (If you cannot do this, another great way to help is volunteering at shelters!)
Along with the thousands of houses that flooded, there were an equal amount of vehicles that did also. We take for granted the ability to hop into our car and head to Target. Flood victims are not only dealing with repairing their home, but they are likely dealing with not having a vehicle. Reach out to your family or friends and offer to help them run errands, let them borrow your car if possible, or even taxi them from one place to another. They’d appreciate any help you can give.
Gift Cards / Money
While not everyone may be able to help those who have lost everything through a monetary donation, many can and should. Providing cash or gift cards to your dear friends would seriously take a load off their back. Bills, everyday needs, construction costs – all of these things and more are swirling in their head. If you can provide this relief, please do.
I’ve helped numerous friends over the past few days, and they desperately need supplies. Supplies to help clean their soaked homes, supplies for their everyday care, supplies that would make their life easier. Cleaning supplies, rags, towels, buckets, lots of plastic storage containers with lids, garbage bags, mosquito spray, gloves, paper plates/cups/utensils, extra shoes or rubber boots, tape, scissors, tools, wheel barrows, lawn chairs to sit on, hand sanitizer, first aid kit … These are common supplies needed and bringing these items to the damaged areas is worth more than gold.
As a praying person, I firmly believe praying is necessary. But I also believe praying should be paired with action if you are able. If you live far away, if you are not physically able to help, if you do not have money to provide relief – then please continue to pray for Louisiana and it’s flood survivors. If at the end of the day, we feel we have nothing left to give, we always have this one thing left within us, our prayers.
In our world these days. we have multiple outlets to express our feelings and words, and often we forget that our voice can be insignificant. In times of tragedy, we as those not affected need to offer our love and support by listening. Ask flood victims about their life, how they were affected, what could you do at that very moment that would help them. Just listen to them. Listen without your words. Offer your shoulder for them to cry on. Offer your safe and judge-free arms to comfort them. Offer your love and listen. It is their story to tell, not ours.
Louisiana’s people are compassionate, loving, and resilient. We come together time and time again, disaster after disaster. We lean on each other to pick up the pieces of our lives.
We desperately want to help ease the suffering of our fellow Louisianans because when they mourn, we mourn. Providing action, our physical help and labor, being there for them through it all will not only help heal our broken state, but it will also heal our broken hearts. There are no words in the English language that can make this better, but our actions can. And we will be better for it.
Together we are unified. Together we are one. Together we are Louisiana.