When a storm like Sandy presents itself, it’s up to us to lend a hand and do what we can to help.
Over the next few days, perhaps even weeks, our fellow human beings will be in need. The storm has taken the lives of more than three dozen people in the United States, according to the Associated Press, and stripped about seven million homes of power. No power also, in many cases, is accompanied by no heat, water or other utilities many of us take for granted.
If we can help in any relief effort, we should. While there was the potential for Centre County to be hit hard by the recent storms, we were largely spared. When you consider the damage inflicted on other areas, in terms of lives harmed, property destroyed or otherwise, our focus on cancelled classes or other small-picture issues seems trivial. Now that we don’t have a lot to clean up in our area, we’re poised to use our good fortune in evading the worst of this storm to because it’s our duty as a human being.
In Pennsylvania, Gov Tom Corbett has activated a plan that entails assisting evacuees that are in need of temporary shelter — in part, by establishing “mega-shelters” at West Chester University and East Stroudsburg University. In a press conference Tuesday, Corbett said these centers are geared toward helping those from neighboring states who have been severely affected by this storm as well as those in Pennsylvania. Corbett said trucks have been consistently delivering blankets, cots, food, water and any other essentials to these shelters.
Meanwhile, the storm’s wrath is being felt in other ways. The American Red Cross estimates that canceled drives in the wake of the storm “have resulted in a shortfall of more than 9,000 blood and platelet donations across 14 states that would otherwise be available for those needing transfusions.”
If you’re in a position to donate your time, your money, your belongings, your blood or anything else that might be a lifeline to those trying to recover, do it. The inconvenience felt on your part is insignificant compared to the legitimate burdens some — including the families and friends of many Penn State students — are now facing as a result of the storm.
It’s during this kind of emergency when human kindness should come through at its strongest. It’s during this kind of emergency when human kindness is needed the most.
Relief efforts cannot simply stem from the actions of state officials. Sure, we need strong leaders to guide to coordinate large-scale relief efforts, but their plans depend on the help of much more than just government officials.
It’s up to the people — the neighbors, the friends, the students — who have not been as severely affected by this kind of disaster to help others in need.