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Northboro, Southboro, Westboro Community Response

Over the course of a week we planned, advertised and executed a collection of personal hygiene supplies for the Gulfport,Mississippi area. We found a trucking company in Worcester that was sending their own collected supplies down who was willing to take ours down and, with the help of a donated truck to take the items to Worcester, filled the truck with 4 and 1/2 tons of supplies. This was the response of the two of us to organizing the collection. We know the supplies reached their destination and hope the supplies were put to good use.

Object Type: Online Text

What does it mean to have a real community? Perhaps it means that in a time of need, people from every walk of life can come together to help their fellow Americans. Perhaps it means people, young and old from all of our towns reaching down deep into their pockets to buy Diapers, wipes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, brushes and other basic necessities for those who lost everything. Or maybe it means that local little league baseball teams from Northborough pitch in to purchase a dump truck full of baby formula. Maybe it means a woman in Westborough stays up late into the night, creating individual gift packages of new toys for dozens of children sheíll never meet. Perhaps it means that a neighborhood in Southborough gets together to deliver mountains of gently used and new clothing for people who are cold and wet.

Soon after the storm it became apparent how terrible things really were in the Gulf Coast. So what could we do from such a long distance. Everyone watched in horror, but what could the average individual do alone, not much. Together, though, it was clear that a difference could be made.

In a period of only a couple of days, the Boroughs Katrina Relief Fund was created and pressed into action. With its roots in a Northborough living room, a small group of friends mobilized to come to the aid of the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The images seen on the news were sad and horrific and it was motivation enough to move quickly and effectively. We couldnít wait for someone else to help.

When the mission began, it was clear that, we couldnít do everything. That as much as we might want to, we didnít have the resources to help rescue people from the water, or even assist with reuniting separated families, but we could pitch in with immediate supplies to make lives in shelters and temporary quarters more comfortable. Make the contacts down south, find out what was needed, get the word out, collect it and ship it down there.

The day arrived. People started coming to bring supplies, a never ending line of cars began dropping off everything that was asked for. Families big and small made their stop by the enormous 53 foot tractor trailer. Many sorted out their generous donations, but didnít leave. This was a place to stop and talk about what had happened. This was a place to share feelings, disappointments, fears and hopes.

How do you help children understand and deal with all of this? Children were encouraged to be a the collection site, to either help out or just watch, for they had to see that if they were ever in trouble, other people would be there to help. Perhaps a chance to make a greeting card at one of the tables would let them express their feelings and at the same time help mend little broken hearts far away. The messages sent by our children were heartfelt, as each suggested to the suffering child who got their card, that everything would indeed be ok someday. The children drew pictures of sunshine. Selfless giving to anonymous recipients is not something that many our kids have ever witnessed. This was not your typical day at the mall. This was reverse shopping, buying as much as you could for other people you would never meet, and then giving it away.

If anything was learned in the past few days, it is that disaster can occur anywhere, and that help might not be immediate. That perhaps, in times of disaster, we may not be able to rely on traditional resources to get back on our feet. There does remain a hope, though, that we can at least to some extent rely on each other.

Thanks to Everyone who contributed and work so hard.

Jeff and Judy Narod and The Boroughs Katrina Relief Committee

PS We saw the truck off this morning. We collected almost 4 tons of stuff!!!


Citation Information:

Judy and Jeff Narod, "Northboro, Southboro, Westboro Community Response." Katrina's Jewish Voices, Object #288 (January 20 2022, 6:11 pm)