Last Sunday, my high school gal pal, Barbie, her mother and grandmother, and 4 dogs arrived at my humble abode seeking shelter from big bad Ike. Since my parents and other family members impacted by the storm were already tucked away safely at Dilbert’s, I was happy to be able to provide Barbie and company a place to stay.
It is now almost a week later. They are still without power in Pinewood, but rumor has it sometime in the next day or two it should be back on. I know they are anxious to get home. I am mostly enjoying them being here, but I have to admit, as someone who lives by herself, it has been taxing on my sanity. I’m a creature of habit and my normal routines have gone out the window. Nothing compared to what they are going through though, so I am grateful to be in a position to help out in some way.
Her mom and 3 aunts all had beach houses at Crystal Beach. yes, I said HAD. All 4 of them are now GONE. Completely disintegrated and washed away to parts yet unknown. All that remains, from what we’ve been able to see in videos and online photos, is the concrete slabs.
It’s so sad to see the massive destruction there and in Galveston. Growing up, I (mis)spent a lot of my fun-filled youth cruising the beach and window shopping on the Strand.
Anyway, just had a few quick minutes to myself and wanted to blog a bit while I was thinking of it.
Sometimes when you just can’t make yourself feel better, doing something for someone else helps. At least for me it does. Added benefit of my latest philanthropic efforts is that I will actually get some exercise and take some photos in the process!
I’ve signed up for LifeWalk 2008. This is my first year to participate. It is about a 3 mile walk around a scenic area of Dallas on Sunday, October 5. And it benefits a cause that I strongly support.
Proceeds will benefit Aids Arms, Inc, a United Way agency that advocates for AIDS/HIV education and prevention, helping Dallas residents with health care, resources and the support necessary to manage the challenges of living with HIV/AIDS. (See www.aidsarms.org)
- Dallas leads the state in new HIV infections, with more than 20,000 residents living with the disease.
- HIV/AIDS continues to be a growing epidemic in the U.S.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that an additional 30 percent are infected and do not know it.
- African-American men make up nearly 50 percent of all new AIDS cases in the U.S.
- AIDS is the third leading cause of death for Latinos.
- Half of all new HIV-infected people are younger than 25.
- More than 250,000 American women are HIV-positive and make up 25 percent of all HIV infection in the U.S.
I went over to the hotel around noon to volunteer. It’s amazing what word of mouth and the internet can do. What they didn’t expect was the TONS of people who would hear about it and the TONS of items that would be donated. It was absolutely incredible.
The hotel was overflowing, the parking lot, the side of the road in front of the hotel, the front of the office building next store, the entire 6th floor of that building….if there was ever any doubt about the kindness and generosity of people, this should restore your faith in mankind.
There were so many amazing stories and so much gratitude from those in need of the most basic of things. I really would have loved to have taken pictures, but just couldn’t make myself do it. These people have been through so much. And have so much more to go through. It just didn’t seem right to be flashing my camera in their faces. Yet another reason why I could never be a photojournalist.
By 9pm, I didn’t have an ounce of energy left, and even though there was still more to be done, I had to call it a night and go home. It was a great experience though, and I’m glad I went.
A hotel in the area is having a free garage sale today and Tuesday for guests at their hotel and any others displaced by Katrina (they are estimating we will have atleast 20,000 evacuees in our area by the weekend). They’ve apparently received an overwhelming amount of donations so far (so much so that they are taking over a floor of the office building next door) and are in need of volunteers to sort everything. They had people helping all through the night. I’m taking off this afternoon so am going to head over there to pitch in and do whatever I can to be of use.
I would really like to bring my camera(s), because I think this is the kind of thing to be captured. But I don’t want to offend anyone either. I’ll leave them in my car until I see how things go.
I’ve just recently learned about “Stuff Portrait Friday.” It sounds like fun, so I’m going to start playing. It will be a little later today before I have a chance to do the assigned photos, but I’ll get them up as soon as I can.