As many of you know from my A-Z Blogpost last year, I live in New Jersey. And as many of you know, New Jersey was just ravaged by a massive storm that left many people homeless or powerless. So if I've missed your emails/tweets/blog posts lately... well, I have a really good excuse!
All things considered, my family was very, very lucky. We lost power for six days (it came back yesterday), but we spent three of them in another state on a vacation that we'd planned a few months ago. And we still don't have internet access. Other than that, we had no flooding and no major damage to the house or cars. Inconvenient, yes, and expensive to replace the food we lost, but nothing compared to the people who lost so much more.
Several towns within walking distance of mine were hit much harder. Houses were washed off their foundation; someone's porch wound up in the middle of the highway. Trees fell on roofs, cars, and electrical lines. People are still without power and likely will be for awhile longer.
I honestly can't begin to describe the devastation. I'm sure some of you have seen pictures on the news. Magnify that by about ten when you realize the restaurant they're showing is one you ate at just a couple weeks ago... and now it's gone. Or when your friends on Facebook are talking about waiting in line for food and clothing donations because they can't get back to even check on their homes until the streets become safer. There was a mandatory 7:00 curfew every night because the traffic lights were out and driving was unsafe. Also because people were looting (fortunately, we didn't see that in my neighborhood). There's a National Guard command post set up down the block from me, and I'm hoping to go over there after work this week to see if I can volunteer.
Obviously part of the takeaway from this is to be grateful for everything you have and try not to take it for granted. It's amazing what just not having electricity for six days felt like, let alone any of the other things that people are lacking right now, especially as the weather is getting colder and the holidays are coming up.
If you're able to/interested in donating to the relief effort, Governor Christie set up a relief fund. Donations can be sent to:
Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund
PO Box 95
Mendham NJ 07945-0095
The Red Cross is always a good option too.
Jen Malone is doing a charity auction, where the proceeds go to the Red Cross relief effort as well. Check it out at: http://www.jenmalone.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/kidlit-community-giving-back-to-benefit_31.html. She's auctioning off some critiques!
And if you're in the area and find yourself able to volunteer, check out NJ 101.5's website where they have volunteer opportunities listed for many of the most devastated cities and towns.
I hope everyone who was affected is doing okay. Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help you!
P.S. The odd fringe benefit to having no power is that I actually managed to keep up with my NaNoWriMo word count. I definitely didn't expect that, but apparently the key to focusing on writing is to have no electricity and therefore no distractions.