I spent part of last evening with friends in Cranford, NJ, whose basement was flooded to its ceiling after Hurricane Irene. Michael, who is a school administrator, was cleaning out hundreds of files of paper that represented his scholarly work since the 1970s. His wife Cathy was trying to salvage family photos and Christmas decorations. Placed along their sidewalk were boxes and boxes of possessions, most of them of little value except for that placed upon it by the family.
Despite having lost their hot water heater, a washer and dryer, two automobiles, clothing, and a lifetime of memories, Mike and Cathy count themselves among the lucky ones. They emerged unhurt, and unlike thousands across our state and others, they were not displaced from their home. The photo above is only a small example of some of the devastation here. For a better idea of the damage, see this CBS news website.
In the coming weeks, people in my home state as well as those from Georgia to Connecticut will be trying to rebuild their lives, with the help of organizations like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. I'm calling on my wonderful community of writer friends to spread the word about relief efforts, and to help in any way you are able.
Bless you all.
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