5 September 2005

Hurricanes and Lemonade

I happened across this archived broadcast while catching up on my blogroll this morning:

New Orleans’ Hurricane Risk - All Things Considered, September 20, 2002: “When scientists consider the possibility of a major storm hitting the U.S. Gulf Coast, they say the ramifications could be devastating — especially for the city of New Orleans. If a Category 5 hurricane were to strike Louisiana, tens of thousands of lives could be lost. Hear how state and federal officials are working to prevent that scenario.”

And here we are, just over a week after Katrina.

Our next-door neighbor’s four-year-old granddaughter did a wonderful thing this past Sunday. At her request, and with help from her family, she set up a lemonade and cookie stand to raise money for hurricane relief. My wife happened to notice the activity outside and informed my five-year-old son, who almost tripped over himself getting his sneakers on so he could go outside and help her.

I watched as the two of them started waving and calling out to the passersby. Sure enough, little by little, cars started to pull over, people got out, picked their tasty treats, and when they asked “how much?” the kids replied “whatever you’d like.”

They raised nearly $500 in three hours.

100% of it is going to the Red Cross via a matching donation program, so that makes for an almost $1,000 donation. Wow.

One of the passersby was from the Somerset County chapter of the American Red Cross. She explained how she was on her way to train volunteers who were about to leave for two weeks in Louisiana.

I remember volunteering to help after 9/11. Three times. The second time was a twelve-hour overnight shift managing a canteen station for rescue workers, doctors, clergy, police, firefighters, you name it. This particular canteen was extra-busy, as it was adjacent to an outdoor morgue, complete with private bereavement tents, arranged along East 30th Street, just off 1st Avenue.

I also recall the staggering, knee-weakening amount of donations we sorted through and organized at the U.S. Navy dry docks in Bayonne a few weeks later. That was a nine hour shift, and far more physically demanding by comparison.

As intense as these experiences were for me, I can’t begin to imagine what those volunteers are going to encounter. Two weeks!

Perhaps our Red Cross visitor told them all about the lemonade stand. Would be a mighty nice thought to take with them into Louisiana.

UPDATE: I was wrong. It wasn’t almost $400 as I originally reported. It was $500! Also, on Tuesday, El Diario published an article about the lemonade stand.

Posted by joe at 11:35 PM

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