After hearing the reports of what happened in West, Texas this week, our friends felt mobilized to act. They very much desired to help and took a leap of faith that they could encourage others to assist in their efforts. They rented a huge moving truck and set forth the lofty goal of filling it up by midnight that night to get supplies to the people of West by this morning. Phone calls began which lead to emails and more phone calls, dozens of text messages were sent out, and an obscene amount of Facebook status updates to try and reach people in our community who wanted to help. I also knew there would be people who wanted to help us out, but for whatever reason may not be able to make it to our drop off site, so I volunteered to drive several loads of stuff for them.
The day was amazing and one I hope to never forget. I traveled around Northwest Houston collecting donations of items and money from 11 people. Countless people made their way over to the drop off site with items from their houses or items they set out to buy specifically for this purpose. I received phone calls from people who heard about what we were doing and met up with us hoping that we were legitimate in getting these resources to people who needed it. Early in the day, I worried that our goal and sites had been set a little too high as I looked in the moving van and saw little of it filled, but through the hours, more and more items arrived to cover the floor of the van. Several friends had just dropped off loads of stuff from their houses for a church garage sale two weeks prior and were able to make quick sweeps of their houses for items that were needed more by others. One sweet girl in our group donated several of her Littlest Pet Shop toys so some of the kids would have something to play with. One mommy with a newborn who I know can't fit size two diapers yet went ahead and gave us a couple packs as she was not in need of them yet. A friend of a friend on Facebook mobilized her church and brought two loads full of stuff, excited to be a part of something great.
As I made my rounds, I prayed that the kids would stay in a good mood and those prayers were answered beyond belief, they were perfect through the process and were amazing little troopers through it all. MacKenzie inquired as to why we were getting things and I told her in the simplest way I could, "There were people who had a fire and lost all of their stuff so we are collecting things to give to them." She accepted the answer and that was enough for her. Along the way we picked up milk and eggs for one of the friends we were stopping to get stuff from and I explained to her that we were helping our friends out, which she really liked. When one family brought two SUV loads of Costco items to our house, the girls helped carry boxes of Macaroni and Cheese to the truck and their little besties helped load stuff into the truck all day.
A quick power nap and an Expedition full of stuff
Later in the evening four of us went to Walmart to purchase supplies to fill the truck further with money given to us from friends in our community. With a plan in our minds, we divided and conquered, purchasing the items we thought would be needed the most. I was in charge of baby items and was able to purchase 6 big boxes of diapers, 4 boxes of baby cereal, 20 containers of baby food, 6 boxes of pre mixed formula, and 17 sets of clothing with the money I collected. We also purchased clothing for the adults effected, blankets, sheet sets, towels, and countless toiletries. We calculated under and were able to go back to fill up an additional cart with bottled water and purchased more formula and diapers as well. As we were checking out, we had a few inquiries for what we were doing, one man overheard that our donations were for West and paid $100 worth of our items on the spot. I quickly thanked him and ran to get more diapers and formula as we head that was what they needed at that time. I hope he knows how much that meant to have more money come in at an unexpected time to bless these people. If you know this man, by chance, please tell him thank you again for us. He was at the Spring Cypress and 290 WalMart at about 10 last night.
At the end of the day, we had the floor of the moving van pretty much covered. Matt and our friend Chris downed an energy drink and set out to get the van there as soon as possible. I am so proud of my hubby for taking a vacation day to help others, to be willing to accept a little bit of discomfort by sleeping in a very cold van, and to put himself out there to do something for someone who needed it. The kids and I crashed at our friends house.
This morning they got there and were overwhelmed with volunteers ready to help unload. It took 20 minutes to unload the van and get things sorted out into the areas it needed to be in. While the guys were fully prepared to stick around and help out all day, they said at this point there was little to do. The people of West were thankful for all of the donations pouring in, but they were already mobilizing themselves to facilitate the distribution of the supplies and in helping one another out. The town was working to make good on the help people had given them, my heart goes out to them even more.
Emptied in 20 Minutes!
As I wrote yesterday, "What would happen if you let God write your life story?". I was called (literally) yesterday, and I answered, and it led to one of the best days I have ever had. I was able to connect with others, to organize a plan, to spend time with my family and friends. I laughed harder than I have in a long time yesterday and I felt energized despite my exhaustion. In letting go the things that I wanted to do yesterday (and today), God wrote a better day for me than I could have ever planned. He set a path in front of me and gave me the support and the ability to forge that path completely. Maybe I should turn more days over to Him and see how many more great days I can get.
Thank you to everyone who assisted us, in whatever capacity. We truly appreciate everyone's efforts.