In the midst of a disaster unlike anything you’ve every seen or imagined, there comes a moment when you just cannot sit and watch the news any longer. When the images flashing across the screen are national broadcasts of the place you’ve called home your entire life bring only shock and numbness and a glimpse of sun brings tears to rain-weary eyes, you know that is it time to get up off the couch and find a place you can give back.
For me, today was that day. Knowing another twelve hours of local and national news broadcasts were not going to provide any more insight into the hurting in our community, I loaded the kids up, picked up my sister and headed into town. We made it to LICS, a local social services ministry serving the Lexington community, and asked where we could volunteer. The overwhelmed staff put us to work sorting diapers in a perfectly age-appropriate task for my crew. We counted and packaged, feeling as though we were finally speaking into the tragedy in some small way. It seemed a perfect fit for the day. We planned to work until lunch and then head back home for a quiet afternoon.
But plans change, and today was no exception. When we give just a little, God gives back so much in return.
LICS was quickly overrun with donations this morning, straining the capacity of their building and warehouse. With promises of truckloads of donations on their way, there had to be some relief. My husband works on a church staff just up the street, and our pastor had already been in touch to offer support in whatever way our church could assist. Our gym was quickly transformed into a second collection site, and we shifted there to manage overflow collection. My crew went to work making labels and getting organized.
Before we knew it, the place looked like this:
And that’s pretty mild compared to what it looks like now. You see, Columbia may be under water, and the Old Mill dam in Lexington may be busted, but those aren’t the problems in SC. The problem in South Carolina is that there have been too many clothes donated for us to be able to sort. The problem in SC is that our donation centers are overflowing with items donated in just a few short hours after curfews are lifted and road cleared. The problem in SC is that our needs are changing by the minute because as soon as one is identified, it is met beyond measure. The problem in SC is that our generosity outweighs the greatest natural disaster our state has seen in quite a long time…perhaps ever.
And those, my friends, aren’t really problems at all. So while we breathe, we hope. Now and forever, here in the great state of South Carolina, which I’ve never been more proud to call home.