The news crews may have left Joplin, but the healing is only beginning. The destruction is unimaginable, and the scale of the work ahead remains enormous.
It may seem there’s little of value that any of us can do to be part of the healing process for the people of Joplin. Other than professionals with particular skills, individuals are being asked not to appear on the scene to help. Rebuilding is still a project for the future; recovery is still the order of the day.
In that environment, what can we do? What can you do?
First and foremost, you can pray. That’s always our best response in situations like this. No matter the scale of the need, prayer is always a right answer.
But you can also help Joplin heal in a more tangible way –- with the gift of a bottle of laundry soap, or a set of sheets, or a blender.
On Saturday, Aug. 6, at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Joplin, the Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri will offer a “Free Garage Sale” for the people of Joplin -– with the items donated by you and me. It's a small but significant way to let the people of Joplin know God loves them by meeting immediate needs in a time of crisis.
What do they need? Examples include school supplies and backpacks; all kinds of kids’ clothing, new or gently used, labeled by age and sex; small appliances (toasters, toaster-ovens, mixers, blenders, etc.); bed and bath linens, cleaning and laundry supplies; and very light furniture, such as folding chairs and tables, lawn chairs, small tables, and shelves.
If you're in the Kansas City area, you can take your donations to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 40th and Main, between July 25 and July 29, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Or, if you want to get your hands dirty, come to St. Paul’s at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 30, to get items ready for transport to Joplin. Or you can come to St. Paul’s from 8 to 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, to load up the delivery trucks. To sign up, please contact diocesan Archdeacon John McCann at JMcCann@ediowestmo.org.
If you're in Springfield, the drop-off site is Christ Episcopal Church, 601 E. Walnut. Items should be delivered by by Monday, Aug. 1.
Please give generously. This is an opportunity for the Church to proclaim Good News in as concrete a way as it can be proclaimed. As my favorite collect in the Book of Common Prayer puts it, may God use us to “let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, Jesus Christ our Lord.” Amen!