I can't even begin to fathom what life is like in Joplin right now. The town I've spent most of my life in/near has nearly been erased. Gone. Obliterated.
I've spent the bulk of my life completely terrified of storms. As far back as I can remember I would sit paralyzed in front of the TV to see what was coming our way. If there was a tornado watch I would overhaul our pantry in our old house in Sarcoxie, taking things I didn't need out & filling it with blankets & pillows as well as anything important to me. That usually meant I filled up the space with nonessentials, without enough room for the rest of the family to fit in. I would sit in that tiny space for hours on end sometimes, as long as the watch lasted. The sad thing is that that pantry wouldn't have saved me from a tornado. It was the central part of our house & the only place without windows, but the walls were just plaster & the doors were at most 1/4 of an inch thick.
I've never been in a tornado, but have been terrified at the thought of it nearly all my life. Nearly every year as far as I can remember back, there was always a town that got taken out by a storm. Leveled. Gone. Demolished. Mother Nature is quick & violent. This time she took it out on Joplin. The town is literally split in 2. Unrecognizable.
Living in St Louis, I felt powerless to help. Stuck 300 miles away wishing I was there to comfort & love my friends & family. My cousin Vicki lost her home, as did my friend Leea's mother & my friend Arin's father. My friend Caleb's brother was seriously injured, so was my friend Tsvia's sister. On top of that, Tsvia's nephew Schulyar has been missing since the storm hit, his family desperately searching for him & hoping first responders took him somewhere safe.
Tuesday I am going to Joplin, to give my brothers & sisters at Solace the biggest hugs I can, to bring them supplies & serve the people of Joplin when they need it most. My friend Matt, who at one time lived in Joplin as well, came up with a plan to organize donations for us to take to Solace (a music venue & church that I have ties to) as they have turned into a shelter & outreach for many people. Matt manages a local Starbucks & got approval to accept donations at several locations in St Louis for us to take to Joplin. I'm working to get my place of work to do the same & we're reaching out to all our friends to donate as well. We have less than a week to gather supplies & I'm anxious to get everything together.
If you live in St Louis, I ask that you donate whatever you can or at least to spread the word here : http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=148111761927020
I don't feel powerless anymore.
Joplin, here I come.