Second Hand Help

Day 67

There is nothing like a catastrophe to keep one’s mind off of consumerism.  I used the term catastrophe in place of natural disaster which I want to use, but it’s possible the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs was set by some wanker, in which case the term natural disaster isn’t particularly accurate.  The term, heinous crime, comes to mind.  But, since they haven’t quite determined the origin, I will just stick with catastrophe, or tragedy.

Although, the airlines don’t agree with my assessment of the situation.  I had a quick trip to Dallas scheduled for Wednesday and didn’t really feel good about leaving my kids with a babysitter while fire and brimstone rained down, just across the highway.   But, when I called American Airlines to ask if they would refund the ticket or, at the very least, waive the change fee, I was told, “we don’t have a policy for fire, just hurricanes, tsunamis and tornadoes.”

It probably didn’t help my case any when I snapped, “What about plague and locusts?  Do you have a policy for any other biblical disasters?”  She didn’t even miss a beat when she said, “No, but I do see blizzard here as well.”

OK, that’s funnier now, than it was then.

Colorado Springs has really rallied to support all those affected.  Everyone wants to help and many local agencies have really picked up the ball.

So many things have been lost and of course, even worse, two lives.  All the news coverage includes encouraging people to donate money to the various agencies, The Red Cross seems to be the primary one, also a local Care and Share food bank and The Humane Society are often mentioned.

Which I certainly understand, I used to be the assistant director at a food bank.  We could always use the cash in a more efficient fashion than a direct donation of a pallet of light up Christmas jewelry or a case of neon scotch tape.  It is not that the locals didn’t appreciate a nice pair of blinking Santa earrings in their food box and scotch tape always comes in handy—I guess even if you’re homeless.   So I am a proponent of the cash donation, these agencies can buy necessary items at a bulk savings and store them appropriately.

Having said that, it does seem like there are so many of us with so many extra things that we could easily share them with those people that are displaced and/or have lost their home if we had an appropriate outlet.   But, there doesn’t seem to be many agencies interested in this kind of help.

Except—Goodwill Industries, I was in one of their thrift stores a couple of days ago and an evacuee was using a voucher to pick up a few things.  I think it’s human nature to want to directly help.  For instance, we would like our towels and bedding to go specifically to a fire victim, but I guess the logistics of that are not always possible.   And at Goodwill they could go to a fire victim, but even if it didn’t go directly to them, the proceeds will still support some great programs and that is true no matter what city you live in.  Plus, Goodwill does a great job of finding new life for all kinds of things.


A note from Goodwill’s local website.

Through a partnership with El Paso County and the City of Colorado Springs, Discover Goodwill is assisting with Waldo Canyon’s fire emergency response by accepting material donations and providing voucher assistance for those impacted by the fire.  If you need voucher assistance, please call 867-1117.  Thank you.