Sifting Through Piles

Jennifer - La Mesa, California
Entered on April 30, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

“Is this really happening?”

This was my reaction in August 2005 as the tragic events of Hurricane Katrina were unfolding. The levees had broken and New Orleans and many areas of the South were being flooded. The news showed horrific images of people stranded and clinging to roofs for survival. My heart broke as it was reported that many were taking advantage of this awful situation by looting and participating in un-human like behavior at the Superdome. I could not simply sit back and feel bad for these people, I needed to help.

Being that it was early in the fall semester; my sorority was busy getting ready for recruitment, our busiest time of the year. I didn’t care how busy we were, I wanted to gather up my sorority sisters and find a way to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. I talked to the executive board and we decided we would gather up goods to donate to those who lost everything.

The plan was announced to all the girls and the following Saturday we all brought items like clothes, toys, and sleeping materials to donate. We loaded up cars and headed to a local school that was also collecting goods for those affected by Katrina. The school had plans to sort all the donated goods and then ship them out to New Orleans and other areas devastated by the hurricane.

When my sorority sisters and I arrived, we were shocked to see the number of people who had taken time out of their Saturday to help collect and sort goods to send to the Gulf Coast. We got to work right away and started sifting through the piles and piles of donations. They were organized into categories such as little girl clothes or shoes or toys. This way, once they arrived in New Orleans the items could be sorted and given to those in need quickly.

As I worked out in the hot summer sun I did not complain, as I often do, because I knew that I was helping someone in need. It may have been in a very indirect way, but I knew without me there would have been one less pair of hands to help. And with one less pair of hands perhaps one less blanket would have been sorted and given to a child forced to sleep on the freezing cold ground.

Some may think the few hours I spent collecting and sorting donated goods was insignificant, but I’m sure everyone who received the items I helped to organize thanks me.

I believe in helping others, especially those in need.