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Problems in SC

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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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35 thoughts on “Problems in SC

  1. Question — Did you just show up there and they were able to use you, or did you have to call ahead and set something up? I would love to help out, bus not sure of the protocol. Thanks

    1. We just went by! They are working hard to organize and store everything while school is out and there are lots of volunteers – so they’re putting everyone to work!

  2. I believe we volunteered at the same place you did today. We checked at the Lexington Leisure Center and were told they didn’t need our help, and were turned away again at another donation site. Something told us to give the church a try and thank goodness we did because they welcomed us with open arms and put myself, my fiance, and our two teenage sons to work. It was fantastic being able to volunteer and really made us feel like we weren’t so helpless. In fact, we plan to head back there tomorrow.

  3. This is amazing. I love my hometown and I hate to watch from afar (I’m at college) as it crumbled, but to know I am part of such a strong community, gives me hope. Thank you for serving, showing God’s love and caring for the less fortunate. You are a blessing!

  4. I know about the heart wrenching pictures. You want to see what has taken place throughout the state and surrounding areas but my nerves just went out on me this afternoon and I cried for several hours and prayed. It is so good even though it is a devastating tradedy to see people caring, loving, helping people versus seeing so much brutality, killings, and shootings. This is how God wants us to live our lives all of the time. Yes, it is heart wrenching at the damage but so wonderful to see people caring and loving their neighbors that they did not even know, strangers risking their lives to save people’s lives they did not know. God bless all of our service personnel for their long hours, and for saving so many. I am so proud to be a born and bred Southerner and to see the real southerner’s showing their love and care for their neighbors and others, this is what the South is all about and I am so proud of South Carolina, the wonderful state I live in. Thank you God for all of our many blessings and every single person that has come together and helped each other as you wish us to do. God bless South Carolina

  5. Omg…..sooooo true. There are too many clothes just dumped in piles that are unsorted, unlabeled, and unwashed in many cases. This is an incredably daunting task for volunteers to sort and find things to distribute to those in need. I definately feel appreciation for the good intentions of people, but if you want to donate clothing, please make sure they can take it first, have it prelabled and bagged seperately by size and gender, and definately stay and help put it where it should go. Thank you for sharing this…

  6. This is the difference in Katrina residents and South Carolina. South Carolinians help each other, they don’t sit around waiting for the government to do it for them.

    1. Sheri, I know it didn’t get national media attention, but Mississippians set to work helping our neighbors immediately after the hurricane passed over. The same excessive donations of time and goods were found within our communities here. This beautiful article reminded me of the incredible way our state came together to help one another in a time of crisis. I just wanted to make sure you knew that the same brilliant display of the best of humanity also existed during Katrina. Kimberly, thank you so much for sharing this!

    2. Comments like yours are part of the problem. We never saw floating dead bodies in the streets now did we? SC issued a state of emergency just like New Orleans! The major difference was the churches were underwater there, woman and kids were being raped in the dome that was set up for housing and those who could help fled. Shame on you.

    3. The reason the situation following Katrina looked so bleak is because that’s what the media chose to show. The magnitude of Katrina was so much bigger that those wanting to help couldn’t get there in many instances. Comparing tragedies is not very helpful right now. Just my opinion.

    4. God bless you Sheri, but that was one mean and stupid thing to say. Katrina residents? You apparently don’t know any. I do. Taking the families that were flooded into their homes and caring for each other when the government sat on donations of clean water and wouldn’t let them into where they were needed. I am glad that the people in South Carolina are like the people all over America — and when someone is in need — we pitch in to help. Apparently you are too busy being high and mighty to do the same. God bless you and make you a less petty person.

  7. This was beautiful! I can’t be more proud to call Columbia my home town. I currently live in NC. I was planning on doing something fun at home with my family for my 25th birthday, but nothing seemed right. My husband and I decided to postpone my birthday and go back to my home state and do whatever we can to help.

  8. Thank you for sharing your experience! This summarizes my experience here in Sumter, SC today. I am blown away by how our community has come together to help one another. Can I share a link to your blog on my Facebook? I think a lot of my friends will also identify with your story. Your words perfectly express how blessed we are to be a part of this wonderful state.

  9. I live in a part of the state largely unharmed and it’s amazing how many students were unaware of what was going on, until they wondered why so many classmates (who went home for the weekend) weren’t around Monday and Tuesday. Now I’m seeing some donation drives and other forms of good citizenship, but I was pretty amazed by how oblivious some people were.

  10. Hi! Love this! SO true of our state! Could you email me do that I could ask you a question please? I couldn’t figure out how to contact you privately on here. Thank you!

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