I’m coming straight at you and I want to touch your heart.
We – you – have to support the flood victims. It’s not an option. I know a lot of you have been giving your all, but all of us have not. Come on, man. It’s not hard. It’s as easy as a trip to the store and then a short drive to a donation center. Do it. Be one of the cool kids. Speaking of kids, and adults (Drew Brees I’m looking at you), the state’s sport teams, leading by example, have answered the call.
The Saints and Pelicans have opened their facilities and pocket books to help out those in need. The Benson family has never shied away from giving to charities in the past and this season will be no different.
As reported by nola.com, "It is tragic what has happened and is happening across so much of our region and state now. The thoughts and prayers of our organizations are with the thousands of victims affected by the flooding," said owner Tom Benson.
The Saints and Pelicans are there for the flood victims. Sure, it would be cool to see photos of Anthony Davis and Cameron Jordan hoisting boxes or clearing out a flooded house. Just like it would be cool to see you or me doing the same. Yet, even though I haven’t seen any photos of our favorite stars, I have read that the women and men “behind the camera” – if you will – have put in the good work.
According to nba.com, Saints and Pelicans staffers have volunteered their hours sorting through boxes of donations – the goods sent in by you and me – at the United Way’s SELA’s offices and prepared packaged meals with the Second Harvest Food Bank’s Community Kitchen.
And here’s one aspect of the Benson’s charity that may be overlooked. The Saints, along with the NFL Foundation, are going to provide schools that were directly hit by the flooding with funding to replace football equipment – to get the kids back on the field, so to speak. To get them back in the game.
“Well it’s just sports,” is what a cynical you-know-what could say about that. But let’s not pretend that a town’s sports teams don’t have an impact on the community. New Orleans, do I need say more?
While it’s normal to look to the professional teams to support the community in times of need we still shouldn’t overlook our local colleges for all of the aid that they give.
The Southeastern University Lions, LSU Tigers, UNO Privateers, Tulane Green Wave, Nicholls State Colonels and UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns athletes are all putting in hours to help the cause. These kids these days, right?
But it’s not just the athletes. All of the schools have been rallying students and locals to get out and help. SLU’s Facebook page says that their volunteers have put in 670 hours and helped 58 homes. SLU’s current banner on their page is a green and yellow hammer and wrench. If you’re in that area and want to help with your time or resources you can go to the Team Tangipahoa Facebook page.
The city of New Orleans has responded as well. Donation centers are all around the city and individuals are hopping in cars and heading west to aid in the recovery effort. Barrel Proof, on Magazine Street, has had scores of volunteers show up at the bar to make thousands of sandwiches to aid those in need.
Tulane’s president Mike Fitts has put the call out on the school’s website, imploring Tulanians, and New Orleanians, to volunteer or donate money. The page has links to Volunteer Louisiana, United Way, the Greater New Orleans Foundation and more.
Friends, the roads of generosity are endless. We just have to choose to take them. I was speaking with a friend about the Habitat for Humanity donation box that is on St. Charles. I told them that I was dropping some clothes off for the flood victims. They asked if Habitat was actually helping with the recovery effort. The Habitat has, but if they didn’t…I’m still good. I know my clothes are helping someone.
Here is another example.
Earlier in this column I asked what are you doing to help. If you haven’t so far, that’s fine. To be honest, most of us are caught up in work all week and sometimes don’t have the time to give on the weekend. While we should all work towards figuring out a way to physically help out, if we can’t, there is always the donation route. That’s something all of us can do.
I was shopping at Winn Dixie last, picking up food for my cat. And, as many of you have read, there is a huge need for sheltering and feeding all of these dogs and cats affected by the storm. So, it was simple. I grabbed the food for my cat Cleo and then piled in ten more cans of cat food. It cost me five bucks. I’m going to take them to Zeus’ Place on Freret today after work.
As you read story after story about the victims of this flood there is one recurring theme – the folks are just happy that someone came to get them. Look – I’m no hero. You’re no hero. But this is a time, an opportunity, for us to be greater than ourselves. Take it with me.