So, I went to pick up some stuff, which somehow I thought was stuff going from someone here to someone who relocated and who's here. But it wasn't - it was several truckloads full of boxes of Nike sneakers new and some donated sneakers, used. So, I drove them to this warehouse in Mountainview. The warehouse guy was super nice, he told me all about the earthquake in El Salvador and how donations would come from the US and all over and be "guarded" by the army and we sort of laughed and I told him about the warehouses full of stuff in Texas cities. He showed me the warehouse full of donations. There is a basement, and a hole in the floor that's a sort of chute, and he chucks the boxes full of clothes and shoes into that hole... Then they have "sorting parties" and trucks come and ship the things out to all the shelters along the way that the Relocation Project dropped people off at, and the rest of it goes to a warehouse in San Antonio, I think, but I'm unclear and that probably changes all the time.
The Reloc people have about 5 or 6 people who stayed on the bus all the way to here. In the parking lot I talked to Dawn, who was in the astrodome as an evacuee and now is here - the Relocation people are helping her and just moved her to a bigger motel with a kitchenette. Her son is coming from Houston and has been on a bus for 2 days and is arriving today! She says she is amazingly sick of standing in lines. The Reloc. people have been good to her. She's still waiting on her FEMA check which was mailed to a friend of hers in Houston and she's feeling really worried that he might not turn out to be a friend after all, because he's had her check for weeks and hasn't mailed it and she can't contact him. He was trying to evacuate for Rita but got turned around, and now isn't showing up for work and his work is worrying about him. Well, what a story! As I was talking with Dawn I thought of all the clothes, old and new, in the warehouse right next to us, and I wished that people would sell those clothes and shoes and stuff, and buy her a used car. And pay her deposit on an apartment for her and her son. She was so excited about a slightly bigger motel with kitchenette so she could cook! That's kinda how I'm feeling about donations at this point.
If you want to donate, maybe just talk to all your personal friends, and pool your donations, and take that money, call someone from Grace Davis's Direct Relief blog, or email me and I'll find you a genuine evacuee in need, and buy them a used car or wire them the money directly. But, better yet, you could in your very own town, find someone just as desperate for help. For example the Redwood Family Shelter right across from Target, you could go there and say, Yo, I'm here to pay the deposit on an apartment for one of your families, or buy them a used car, or pay their car registration and insurance, or maybe this month's bus/Caltrain pass. You know?
Those boxes of shoes, someone could have used those right here, in East Palo Alto, and it would be more sensible to give them to a church there. You think someone from El Salvador who just came here, they are also exiles and evacuees who lost everything. They also need help. Poverty is always an emergency. I know this is always true and I haven't done anything about it my whole life, but I feel differently now about it. Especially as I think about all those warehouses full of donated stuff, all over the big cities of texas right now. All that stuff that was in the Reliant Center? Where is it now? You think anyone has access to it? I bet it's locked up and no one has had time to sort through it or pass it out. Sad as that is, it's probably true. Someone's probably "guarding" it.
*** just got voicemail from Cherlyn, she talked to her cousin, and her sister, and her whole family is okay which is like, about 20 people i was trying to find but they are freakin' impossible to find. But I had some leads which I passed to cherlyn last week and i left all kinds of voicemail all over the country. Her family is the one with the extra-extra creative spellings no one knows how to spell, or else they are named things like "Will Jones" (not real, but the equivalent, impossible to find). Her sister's trying to come to colorado to her, and she just spent like 10 minutes blessing me and my family every which way. it is embarrassing but sweet and makes me cry, and i wish she would not call me "miss badger" ***