As all of you know, Joplin was hit by a tornado a week ago today. I went down to volunteer and drop off donations with my friend Tonya on Wednesday morning. Being there in person was an experience I'll never forget. Seeing the destruction around me every way I turned was crazy, I have never seen anything like it.
The first day we were there we volunteered in the call center taking calls from people who wanted to give a donation... whether it be a service of some kind, food, clothing, etc. The phones were ringing off the hook, and it was awesome to talk to so many people who wanted to help- and the coolest part was that it was people from ALL over the US. I had calls from Kentucky, Idaho, Texas, and Kansas just to name a few. I know there are so many good people in the world with great hearts and it is good to be reminded of that sometimes.
The second day we went out into a neighborhood and helped with debris clean up. We spent most of the day helping a couple sort through things and clean up what used to be their house. They only had a few walls left standing, one in the kitchen and one I think was part of a bathroom wall. It was like the tornado just put their house in a blender and then dumped it all right back out. Our main goal was to get all the boards, metal, pieces from the wall, tree debris, and anything else out to the curb. There were about 10 of us working in the morning and even after a few hours it looked like we had hardly done anything simply because there is just so much to move. After working in the neighborhood Thursday I really realized just how many people and how long it is going to take just to clean up- then how long it will take to do all the rebuilding. While cleaning up I did find some pictures and old cards they had received from people. I found one 8x10 picture of them that wasn't ripped at all and it was so great to see her smile when I handed it to her... that was the best part of that whole day!
Volunteering there was really easy to do and everything was organized so well. If you have a couple days of free time you should definitely go up there- they can use all the help they can get. If you are interested, you go the student center at Missouri Southern State University (MSSU). Overall it was a really sad, but good experience. Keep the people of Joplin in your prayers!