For those of you who might not understand this post, you first must read my 3/6/09 post about "helping hands".
To recap, there was a fire in our town which destroyed the two-family home of one of our school's bus driver, "Gramma Kaye". Kaye's daughter, son-in-law and 2 grandchildren lived in an apartment above the garage. Her granddaughter is in my son's 5th grade class.
I sent out various e-mails to 16 parents of 5th graders as well as the two principals, the four 5th grade teachers, the PTO, & the student council advisor asking if they would help me network to organize a student-run fund drive for this family. The school basically told me that they had already done what they felt was appropriate and student involvement was unnecessary.
Now I just wanted to follow-up about a comment written on my last post. My friend Heather, who is also a bus driver at our school, wrote:
"...the school had done some sort of pull together for Kaye right after it happened (I believe that effort was inside...teachers and staff). ...there were people rallying together on Kaye's behalf too, moms and such doing group efforts and individual things." (see full comment on yesterday's post)
Here is my reply:
When I spoke to Mrs. McA, she said that the 5th grade teachers had pooled together @ $400. As we both know, the other staff also collected goods (& cash, I think) during the week after the fire, which is fabulous. Yet I still believe that the middle school students should have done something, too, as a gesture of "school community", [which is constantly preached everyday in every classroom]. This would've been a perfect opportunity to teach these young people a valuable lesson about being good Samaritans.
Then, after the article in the newspaper ran on Monday, people starting randomly dropping items off at the school for Kaye. However, I have heard that most of the items that were donated & collected were useless (dare I say) junk. What makes that worse is that Kaye and her family were left with the task of disposing of it, too.
On top of all that, the home that they are temporarily living in now was in deplorable condition when they moved in. The previous tenant had lived there with 5 dogs and the house was a filthy mess. All of the flooring and carpet needed to be ripped out to the sub-floor, the walls were smeared with dirt (from the dogs) and the appliances were gross. There was so much to be done to make living there comfortable, and because they were so emotionally fragile they were overwhelmed by everything.
To further complicate matters, they all had to deal with losing their homes and 90% of their belongings, not to mention the guilt about how the fire started. Then they had to start making phone calls to the insurance company, the bank, the utility companies, and various agencies in order to start the rebuilding process. Anyone in this stressful situation would not want a multitude of "garage-sale leftover" to have to sort through, store, wash, and dispose of.
Honestly the best thing for this family's peace of mind would have been a hefty check and offers of manpower, not junk. So I wanted to rally people to coordinate a fundraiser for them. Kaye & Katina do not need THINGS at this point; they need MONEY. This became emphatically clear once I did get a chance to speak with Kaye. She sadly admitted that she forgot to change the insurance once the apartment was built. Therefore her daughter's home was uninsured, which means none of their loss can be recouped.
Do not misunderstand me; I think it was fantastic that people wanted to help replace "things" that the family lost. But no one can be sure what they really needed unless there was a list circulated (which there wasn't). So think about it: wouldn't you be overwhelmed, too, if everyone donated towels & sheets but little else?"
Because so many people donated things, the family was embarrassed to begrudge anything. Among the donations were sweat stained pillows and previously worn bras & panties.
My point is that people had their hearts in the right place, but to rebuild the contents of your ENTIRE house, money and manpower were much more appropriate "gifts". My opinion, of course...
I hope no one will take offense with my ranting.... I also hope that I never have to face the consequences of such a devastating event.
Now, let's all count our blessings.