I'm so grateful that my parents have shown me the joy of serving those in need.
When I was 11, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. I was sobered. The news was on all day in our house and I saw images of the neighborhoods, or lack thereof, that had been in the path of the hurricane. My dad came home from work early that day and stated that he was going to Baton Rouge with a whole bunch of supplies. That day. We live in Maryland.
He asked if anyone wanted to go with him. My sister and I ended up driving 17 hours down there with him. I could expand on the trip. How we met random strangers on the way down who added to our supplies in the back of our car. Or how when we got to the Relief Center, my dad saw a young boy and gave him a baseball. As the boy walked away, he threw it up and down. I started crying. Or how a Red Cross worker gave us a tour of the whole place. We saw piles of supplies in the back, and in one of the gyms, there were cots everywhere and every single one was occupied. There were tents set up so people could get some sort of privacy. Babies were playing with cardboard. Children were crying. There was a missing persons station. There was a makeshift library. We stayed at the shelter for 2 hours. Then we drove the 17 hours back (we stayed the night at a hotel in Tennessee) and the way I viewed people after that was never the same.
This past week, Hurricane Sandy hit close to home. I am so grateful that all we got was a lot of rain and a bit of wind. But New York and New Jersey got hit super hard. I'd like you to watch this video and then read on.
This video affected me. The media isn't covering this tragedy as much as it should. I know, I know. The election. But guys, we are talking about people's lives being torn apart. Their town, their neighborhoods, everything familiar, has been taken away from them. It's so cool to see people coming together to help them. After watching this video, I had an idea. And you all can be a part of it.
Letters For Rockaway.
That's it. I would love to send supplies up (and I'm working on making that happen). Letters For Rockaway is about making encouragement notes, prayer cards, whatever for the citizens of Rockaway. These people are getting physical help. But I think an encouraging word like, "I am praying for you" or "I am thinking of you all" from all over the country would be amazing. You can make art if you draw or paint or anything like that. If you or your friends would like to add cards to the pile, please email me at elliebephotography[at]gmail[dot]com for more details. I'll be collecting them and sending them up.
As a Christian, I am called to be a light to others. That doesn't mean I'm better than everyone else. It doesn't mean that my life is so much greater and cooler than other people's lives so therefore I can be a light to those people. NO. It means that I have something that has been given to me and it is more precious than gold. I can share that with others. I can be a light in dark times because Christ shines through me. That is the point of this small venture. To be a light to those in darkness. You can be a light too.
"The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world." John 1:9
"For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:6
Even if you aren't a Christian, I urge you to help in someway. Whether it be through Letters For Rockaway, sending supplies, or just keeping them in your thoughts. These people need support from other people. They can't do it alone.
Because of the limited media coverage, it seems like not many people know about Rockaway. I would love for the citizens of Rockaway to know that even though everyone can't send supplies, people are thinking of them.
If, however, you would like to send supplies, email me (at the same email address ;)) and you can send them to me. I will get them up there. For a list of urgent needs, go to this website.
Why do I care so much? I want to be a voice for those who can't reach out. I'm praying for everyone in Rockaway and I hope you will do the same as well.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comment box, or email me. Thank you all for considering joining in this effort. xoxo. ellie
ps. it takes 10 minutes to make a card. it takes 5 minutes to find an envelope, put a stamp on it, and put it in the mailbox. so why not? there is no reason not to. ;)