23 May 2011

Joplin Missouri

Although I live in upstate New York I have lots of family in Southeast Kansas and Southwest Missouri. On Friday I left New York to come visit them. On Sunday we had a big lunch at Cheddars in Joplin, Mo. My brother and his wife and three kids, other brother and his girlfriend, my mom, and my best friend. Afterward we went to JoAnn's to shop for fabric to make my four year old niece a pageant dress, then back to my brother's house and chatted for a while. It quickly got really dark, the power started to flicker, and when I opened the door trees were doing circles. We spent the next half hour trying to keep three children under the age of five in the back hallway without freaking them out. It was really loud and we lost power for a while, but it came back and we went back to watching tv.

Turns out we were lucky. A tornado was probably forming over the house and skipped us over. Lots of people weren't so lucky, though. The Jo Ann's where we shopped at a few hours earlier is completely gone. So is the high school and one of the two hospitals, as well as miles of houses and businesses. My brother quickly got called in to his job with the police department, and my sister in law responded to a call for nurses not long after that. They've told me a lot of stories, but they're all so heartbreaking I don't think I can post any here. What I can say, though, is that things are bad. Really bad. The water's not safe to drink and there's not enough of it to give pressure for the fire department to put out fires started by the storm. Hundreds of people have no homes. Many of them are injured, and enough are injured badly and the hospitals are running out of blood. There is debris everywhere and rescuers are still finding people in wreckage.

It always hits close when something like this happens. Right now I can say that if you want to donate money please contact the Red Cross. Better yet, if you can please donate blood this week. They really, really need blood at the blood banks. Also, since the high school is gone, I'm going to try and coordinate a book donation drive to get books to restock the high school library when it gets built again. It probably won't be for a few years, but I know that fiction from the library was the joy of my high school days, and I'd hate for some of these students to miss their opportunity because of this storm. I know I have some good-quality hardcovers that I can give to a good cause, and I bet some of the rest of you do, too. I'll post more on this when I get in touch with the high school librarian in the next month and get more info on what they need and when they might need it.


  1. My darling, I am so glad you and your family are OK. Stuff for Joplin is a great idea. In addition to books and blood, would people need clothing and such? The Murray-Bahms are getting ready for a garage sale in June and would love to re-purpose stuff for Joplin. We could even deliver it :-) Let me know.



  2. I can't give money (ain't none) and I can't give blood (medication), but I can give books. Tell me where and when.

  3. Yes, please let us know about book donations. I can bring several boxes of SF!