Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Third Day

Yesterday Sara and Jeff sorted through and cleaned the small items - mostly clothing, but also a few pots and pans - they pulled from the wreckage and picked up the first round of in-kind donations generously contributed by members of their community. Additional in-kind donations, from family members, friends, and even strangers across the country, are scheduled to arrive throughout the remainder of the week.

Tomorrow Sara, Jeff, Lily, and Carter will move from Jeff's cousin's home, where they've slept for the last three nights, to a more long-term living space. Their new home is as well suited to their needs as we could possibly hope for, and thanks to their friends in the Washington community, it's completely stocked and ready for the four of them to move and settle in.

I can't help but give thanks that Lily is too young to fully grasp the gravity of the situation, and I hope that as she grows older she won't remember what it was like to huddle with her parents and baby brother in the basement while a vicious tornado destroyed her home. Even now, her understanding of what's going on around her is limited; when my parents arrived from Madison to help Sara and Jeff, Lily asked, "Why are you here? Oh, is it because my house got broken by a potato?" 

Baby Carter is as happy and laid back as he's always been, which I believe is a true blessing. It's difficult to feel anything but joy when you look at that sweet boy's smiling face.

Though Sara and Jeff's situation is less precarious than it was two days ago, they are still far from standing on solid ground. The road ahead is dauntingly long, the future uncertain. We will continue to raise funds, and to collect gift cards to stores like Lowe's, Target, Walmart, Kohl's, and Kroger so that Sara and Jeff can purchase what they need most, when they need it. Donations can be made here. Gift cards can be mailed to:

Sara Ekena
PO Box 472
Metamora, IL 61548

A few more words of thanks…Thank you to the friend of mine who donated her time and expertise (and who wishes to remain anonymous) to set up the donation website for me. Thank you to my "point people" on the ground in Washington, and to those helping me coordinate efforts in Madison, Chicago, and Ann Arbor. Thank you to all those who've shared Sara and Jeff's story. Thank you to the friend of mine working to track down digital copies of Sara and Jeff's wedding photos and recreate their wedding photo album, and to the friend who offered her professional photography services to help Sara and Jeff begin a new collection of family photos. Thank you to the friend of mine helping me figure out how to move Sara and Jeff from rental cars to permanent vehicles. And thank you to every single person working behind the scenes on a piece of this complicated but absolutely vital relief and recovery effort. 

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