“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” — Albus Dumbledore
In recent days since the chaotic scene in the Merrimack Valley that left numerous people without power, without homes and for one family without a son it seems like a nightmare that has bled into reality. For me and many who read this article, the Merrimack Valley; which includes Lawrence, Andover, North Andover and many more towns consider it their adoptive home, support has been pouring in to the area to help re energize the great area and her people. I know when i saw the tragedy unfold on TV and social media from miles away at Anna Maria College that i was devastated with the news. I have worked in those communities, with those outstanding people who are doing great work. I can honestly say i wish i could have left at that moment to help volunteer somewhere to help out the community that took me in for five years of college. You may think that this has rocked them to their core and will change everything, but you are wrong.
The people of the Merrimack Valley are stubborn and resilient, they wont let this shake who they truly are.
So, Why should you give back to not only this community but all communities that suffer? Well simply its the right thing to do. It appeals to the human spirit of helping out their neighbor in times of need and doing what we can, when we can. The human spirit is always alive in those who are affected by the worst things, and those who reach out during the worse events we can imagine. Be the good people want to see especially in these times where people may not see the good very often even though its right next door to them. Help your neighbor out and they will help you out when time comes.
There are many ways that you can give back but i hope you don’t give back in two ways; Don’t Donate to the Red Cross and don’t do nothing for them.
Now the Red Cross is a very well respected organization and i applaud for what they do but there are numerous local organizations that have done fantastic work for the people of the Merrimack Valley. They work day in and day out to help volunteer for their communities, not the ones they get assigned. These great people are just common folk, people who heard a calling to serve others in food pantry, shelters, thrift shops and numerous other ways they felt best to provided a genuine comfort of safety and security to the people. Merrimack College students who have done service learning with these organizations will agree with me on the time and effort they have seen given back to the less fortunate. So if you choose to donate, please consider researching these groups instead of the Red Cross and other Big Name Organizations.
Secondly, i really hope you don’t just sit by and wait until this event has passed to have done something. Being inactive in this time of need isn’t necessarily a sin, but its not what you should be doing. You don’t have to go up the Merrimack Valley and volunteer until you are tired and given everything away, its the simplicity of giving some time and money to helping the effort. The simple act of giving a donation to a local charity or even donating some time here and there makes the biggest difference even if you don’t see the effects first hand, they are there happening every day.
So i ask that you don’t just send thoughts and prayers or sit on the couch saying “Thank God it isn’t me out there” People can’t use prayers for clothing, or feed their kids with thoughts.
To those who have been adopted by the Merrimack Valley Community, its time to come home and give back.
Here are some of the great local organizations that are helping the Merrimack Valley:
- Lazarus House
- Merrimack Valley Food Bank
- Emmaus Inc.
- Bread and Roses
- Merrimack Valley Catholic Charities
- Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity
- Donations can be made to the Senior Center
- Lawrence Facebook Page has numerous other sites
Or donated to a GoFundMe Page set up for the people of the Merrimack Valley by Merrimack Student Audrey Regan