|Forgotten Again - Part 2
Missed Part 1? Click here to read it first.
I was thinking this morning that maybe this time they would pay attention. It was a serious storm that ravaged another country for days before coming here (2 countries actually, but we didn't hear much about that did we. Just the same old news bites.) You would think that they would finally actually talk about the devastation in this area and perhaps how it isn't the first time. Then, when I went to go read the news online, I found that they did it again. They completely forgot us and were talking about Miami and other areas on that side of Florida.
For the record, Miami got less damage and destruction than the south west coast of Florida did, but they are a major city so they are the ones that the media will be focusing on. Again, true to form, we will get lost in the scramble to have a big story. Even if it means ignoring the real information. What, we aren't big enough for them? People losing their homes, belongings, flooding and lost lives isn't important enough to be news worthy?
My mother's home was damaged by this latest storm. Hurricane Wilma. Serious damage actually. To add to it all the fun, about 10 days before the storm hit, her husband was hit by a car. He was on his way back to work, after his lunch break, and a car hit him. Now he has a broken pelvis, cracked skull and two broken wrists, but he will live and is healing. They sent him home Sunday morning, the storm hit Sunday night. How is that for a fun filled couple of weeks?
My daughters and I have suffered our own losses physically, financially and emotionally due to the hurricanes effects on us and those close to us. It is a long list, so I won't go into it here.
I was one of those people that sought help from the Red Cross last year after Hurricane Charley. Did they help me? Sadly no. I am one of the many people they put on a list for an appointment to get help and then they forgot about when they left the state. I am not a person who easily asks others for help, so you can imagine how happy this made me. I do my best to handle my own life. So we struggled along. Doing what we could.
Some people say, well why don't the people who live in these areas move? Ok lets be logical here. If every person who lived in an area that suffers from natural disasters moved, where would over one half of the country live?
Natural disasters, a.k.a., hurricanes, tropical storms, earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes, snow storms, ice storms, rain storms, hail storms, drought, forest fires, shall I go on? So you tell me? Where do they have none of these or any other things mother nature can dish out? Hard to answer isn't it? The planet is alive and it likes to remind us that we aren't in control of it.
You would think this all would keep us down, but it doesn't. The stress on all of us can be overwhelming sometimes, almost to much to bear, and things almost get out of hand, but then we stop and start over. Trying to look at things from a more positive point of view. We haven't given up. We keep looking forward to a things looking better and situations improving. Then something else comes around trying to push you down again. It is then that I remember my grandmother. She would get upset when something bad happened, never hiding from it or pretending like it wasn't there. She said it was important to tell the truth and admit when something was wrong. That was the only way you could fix it. She would do her best to find a positive in the negative. I learned that from her and for it I am ever thankful.
I am grateful to have two wonderful daughters who, even if they are moody sometimes, care about others and like to help. They are intelligent, compassionate, artistic individuals. We do our best to positively touch all lives we come in contact with. Even if ours isn't going so great. Now if we could only start a trend and get more people to do that, what a nice place it would be.
So next time you hear the news casters, or someone else, talking about helping victims of a hurricane or storm or whatever (be it the current Katrina and Wilma drives, or any other one in the future) really look at where they are focusing their efforts. Are they focusing on the bigger places (like New Orleans and Miami) and avoiding the little places so devastated and not making the news? Sadly they will probably, yet again, be ignored and the funds will go towards the bigger advertised incidents.
Just maybe, instead of following along and donating to the big advertised cause, you could take a moment and look for those places that are also in need and being ignored. See if they have funds set up for them, listed outside the regular well advertised ones, because you know the funds from the larger well advertised drives are not going to go to those other communities and people. They will go to the larger advertised ones.
Don't believe me? Just remember what happened here last year after Hurricane Charley and how the Red Cross (along with other organizations) baled on us after the new storms hit elsewhere, and well before they actually did any good here.
Search the net or look elsewhere to find out if there are other ways you can help that will actually go to those impacted. Rather than just going to fund an organization itself or only some areas.
I almost forgot, be careful how you write out those checks, money orders and make other donations. Writing "for hurricane
victims" or something else like on them, isn't always a wisest thing.
Did you know that if you donate to a place, writing that on your check, they can not use those funds to help anyone effected by something other than the hurricane? Now that may not seem like a bad thing, but not everyone who needs help is going to be in need due to that hurricane. Even in a hurricane damaged area.
If someone comes in for help because they had a house fire, your funds can not help them. Yours may actually be the only funds there, or yours and others designated for hurricane victims, but they still can't be helped because your funds are for hurricane victims only. So be careful what you write or designate your donations for. It may well leave someone in need, still needing.
I hope this helps shed some light on the plight of those here in south west Florida and gets those here some much deserved, and over due, help. In what ever form it may come. It is time that we actually got the attention we deserve, and not ignored because some other area seemed like it would get more attention, higher ratings and more air time, even when it wasn't as damaged.
I am going to try and get my family the help we need from organizations again, but I have to say their track records are not looking so good in my eyes. FEMA included. So many people, sadly, go to them and lie. This makes it so that what little funds they had to help people with wind up disappearing before those who actually need it get it. I have seen this more than a few times as well.
I saw a woman in a store last year, who I had just seen get help from one organization (which shall remain nameless) buying herself a big wide screen television with the funds she got from this organization. Now she had just been telling them she needed it for her and her family, giving them this long story about how she needed it not a few hours before (I happened to be there as emotional support for another person who was also seeking assistance at the time, note they didn't get it and they actually needed it). And here she was buying herself a new wide screen television. How right is this?
Then there is a former neighbor our ours who lied to FEMA last year and told them the damage to her home was from a particular storm that had just passed. It wasn't. Her home was damaged by her, her children, and some other not so nice people the went in and out of it regularly. But did they check out her story? No. She got quite a lot of money from them actually. Within a few weeks of her applying and lying to them, you saw her driving around in all these different cars with dealer info on them. Her kids had all kinds of new clothes and gadgets. They were spending like they won the lottery. Did they fix the house? No.
Shortly after seeing all this, a very nice person I know, who said she could not in good conscious sit back and watch them do what they did, reported them to FEMA for fraud. I can't say if anything was ever done, but as far as I know the family still lives in that same messed up home, in that same neighborhood. So you tell me if you think anything was done about it?
And, Yet again, at that same time there were tons of people that couldn't get help when they needed it.
I hope this helps shine a light on the way some areas, even when they are in dire need, are ignored, on purpose, by the media. How so many go without and have a hard time because no one thinks to help them. Since they aren't mentioned on the news, there are no big places pushing for you to help them plastered all over the net, they don't get noticed and they don't get help. Please think twice before helping the big advertised causes, or listening to what the media (the news included) telling you that someplace is the one that got hit the worst or the most. It usually isn't the truth.
Consider helping those who actually are in need, instead of those that are advertised.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article.
I hope it opens some eyes, and gets all the people who are hurt, like my own family, and are not advertised all over the news and the net, some help when they are in need.
Want to really help families in need? I would suggest that you donate to local south west Florida organizations that help south west Florida residents, rather than to the large groups that actually forget us and go elsewhere.
* Please note that when I say have an effect, I mean that they traveled in an area near enough to this part of Florida to have an impact on the area. Take Hurricane Mitch for example. It didn't hit the south west coast of Florida directly. It did, however, come close enough to cause enough wind, rain and water damage to the area to be added here.
** If you would like to check the information I have listed here, I would suggest you visit http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/. There you can find information on storms from 1886 to 2005.
About the Author
Thank you for reading my article.
If you found it interesting, please share it with others.
ASerenePath@aol.com (no spam, solicitations or junk mail. Thanks)
A little bit about me... I am a happily divorced mother of two intelligent, strange, unique and beautiful daughters. A resident of the South West Florida coast. The owner (or staff if you ask them) of two fun loving cats. And a Practitioner of Random Acts of Kindness.