Monday, March 26, 2012
Two Girls and a Van
I wanted a place where I could share all about the efforts of an organization I am part of called, "Two Girls and a Van". We have a Facebook page but if I typed a status about this trip it would take up a whole page!
Two Girls and a Van was started by a childhood friend and I. Last year we collected items for the survivors of the Alabama tornadoes. We thought we would pack the back of my minivan.
We packed a 14 FOOT TRUCK!
And still had to leave stuff behind!
So this year, when the tornadoes hit so close to home we knew we had to do something!
About 3 weeks ago we decided that we would divide and conquer.
Ashley (the other girl in the van) took Henryville, IN and I choose to focus on eastern Kentucky.
When I first began to collect items I heard the same things I heard last year...
They don't need anything.
Let someone else do it.
The "X organization" will take care of them.
Can we even make a difference?
We need to just give money to "X organization".
I will admit...I was discouraged.
However, the donations slowly trickled in and I could feel the momentum shifting.
Sure enough, just like last year, we packed a 15 FOOT truck again!
We also had lots of gift cards donated!
$450 in Walmart gift cards
$685 in Lowe's gift cards
AND around $800 in cash donations!
So, sit back and relax, and let me tell you about our journey...and how 100's of people's generosity made a difference!
Our first stop was West Liberty, KY (Morgan county). We met two teachers at the new elementary school that had been constructed in an old warehouse.
It was amazing to see what a group called, "God's Pit Crew" had done in 6 DAYS!
The ladies there were thrilled to see us and were so very grateful for all that we had brought! We got a little tour of the school and they all shared with us about the night of the tornado and how life had changed since then. We really enjoyed our visit there and were ready to pack those teachers in the back of the truck and bring them home with us! ;)
On our way out of town we took a quick tour through downtown West Liberty and it was devastating. Piles and piles of rubble. Buildings crumbled. It was hard to tell what the buildings had even been before. On a positive note, there was lots of activity going on, clean-up, rebuilding, and a sense of community. I have no doubt that this town will be back and better than before!
Our next stop was Salyersville, KY (Magoffin county). We partnered with a clinic there and the ladies were waiting in the parking lot for us and ready to go when we arrived. They had picked out several families that were in need and we packed about 40 or so boxes full of supplies to hand out. We essentially made little "care boxes" full of toiletries, cleaning supplies, and non-perishable food items.
We loaded two pickups worth and went out with a few of the clinic staff to deliver items.
It was humbling to go door to door to these people who had lost absolutely everything they had, yet were still thanking God that they were alive.
One family had taken in 19 people. 19 people in one trailer.
One man had taken in a couple who had lost everything, the wife had a broken leg and the husband had broken ribs from their trailer caving in on them in the tornado.
In one section there had been three trailers in a row...one basically disintegrated, one only had a toilet left standing, and one had miraculously survived. A woman that lived in one of the trailers that had been destroyed had sought shelter (for whatever reason) in the ONE trailer in that row that had made it.
Just story after story. Lots of tears, lots of hugging, and SO mush thankfulness.
We handed out 2-6 boxes per household based on their needs as well as a few Walmart gift cards to each family.
The ladies from the clinic fed us a quick yummy home-cooked meal at their volunteer center before we hit the road to Lovely, KY.
There was a slight detour... Which is a whole other blog post in itself...
Around 9pm or so that night we finally pulled into Lovely, KY (Martin county). We had partnered with a church there called Freewill Baptist church. Their main request had been building supplies and Lowe's gift cards. We unloaded about $800 or so worth of donated building supplies and nearly $700 in Lowe's gift cards. They were so grateful for everything that we had sent.
They shared a sad story about a couple who had been trapped after the tornado and were calling out for a help. A couple stopped to help them and pulled them to safety... However, after saving them they went back to their destroyed home and stole the couple's savings/nest egg that was around $4,000.
We circled around the church's parking lot and said a quick prayer with the pastor and his church family before we loaded ourselves back in the truck and headed for home.
There are no words that I can type that put into perspective the things we saw and did.
I struggle even writing this because I feel like it doesn't do it justice.
There is still so much pain, hurting, and loss going on.
But out of it all I think we would all agree we also saw...
I cannot say thank you enough to those that gave...your time, your material goods, your prayers, and your support.
Without you it wouldn't happen.
People have said, "it's so great what YOU are doing..."
But it's only so great because of those who gave.
It wouldn't have been the same had I driven an empty truck.
We all did it.
We all made a difference.
Thank you from me and from every single person we met along this journey.
**My friends Cammie and Holly went along with me...I have to thank them as well!
I'll have some more pictures soon!