When crisis brings out the best of us

5 Jul

We’ve all heard the never ending updates and reports on the massive power outage and damage left by last Friday’s storm.  For our readers who live in the DC/Maryland area, you’ve probably encountered at least one fallen tree, one tense, AC-deprived driver or one malfunctioning traffic light.  Still, now that most local residents have their power back and the situation has returned to an almost-normal state, it’s worth mentioning the many ways that this latest dilemma has challenged us to reach out to others and put our own interests on hold.

Here are just a few examples of those who rose to the challenge:

Harris Teeter, a supermarket chain located on the east coast and known for its many community-oriented programs, set up an ice distribution system during the first few days of the power outage.  This initiative to give out free ice worked so well that stores had reportedly run out of their initial stores of ice by Sunday, July 1st.  Along with ice distribution was a hand out of a gallon of water to community members.

Along with Harris Teeter, numerous different organizations have made a considerable effort to provide relief from the summer heat.  D.C. public libraries, Washington Sports Clubs and handfuls of high schools and communities centers are among those that set up a cooling center in the building and opened their doors to the public.  Some centers even allowed pets, while other pet owners had the option of dropping off their cats and dogs at Humane Society shelters.

The relief effort went international with the arrival of around 200 employees from the Canadian utility company Hydro One.  This extra push expedited the process of power restoration and took some of the incredible load off the shoulders of the US utility teams that have been working extended shifts to tackle the situation.  Hydro One, which is owned by the province of Ontaria, has made several missions to the US in the past when a natural disaster has left a community without power.

And while we may have it hard here, the DC/Maryland area is not the only area suffering the after effects of a dangerous natural event.  After facing 14 different wildfires in the past week, more than 35,000 Colorado residents have been evacuated from their homes, 346 of which were destroyed in the fire.  These residents need our help, and for those of us with internet, that help is a only few clicks away.

Interested in helping out?  Here’s are some organizations involved in relief efforts and a link to their website:

-Catholic Charities of Central Colorado, https://secure.qgiv.com/for/?key=ccharitiescs

-The Jewish Federation Relief Funds, http://www.juf.org/relief

-No Co Rebuilding Network, http://www.nocorebuilding.org/

-The Salvation Army (designate donation as disaster relief) www.imsalvationarmy.org

-HelpColoradoNow database: http://www.helpcoloradonow.org/index.php/responding-agencies

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