A quote has been in my mind for the past several days. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” by John F. Kennedy.

In the lead up to the storm, I worked with eight of my immediate neighbors to prepare ourselves for Irma. As we served each other, our neighborhood became closer. I really like the change.

Almost every evening over the past week, I have been on conference calls discussing Hurricane Irma with more than 20 volunteer church leaders across Florida, such as myself. The initial purpose for these calls was to prepare for the storm. On Monday, the purpose of these calls changed to how can we mobilize to assist those in need.

We identified three primary staging locations in locations where extreme damage has occurred. Each of the volunteer leaders that were not severely impacted by the storm, committed to send 10 to 20 volunteer work crews, consisting of 10 people each, this coming weekend. We are working with the local Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) to identify where service is needed most. The EOC will help in identifying actual work sites, primarily in Lee County or the Keys. We have over 20 tractor trailers, headed to the area, loaded with humanitarian supplies, food, water, and commodities for those impacted by the storm, as well as equipment for clean-up efforts. The work will be focused on helping people clean out their homes and removing trees from yards, etc.

I share this with you so you know that good things are happening. I encourage you to reach out into your community to see how you can help. It may be in your own neighborhood or community or some other way.

On September 7th, a Rasmussen poll indicated that 59% of the people in the US felt the country was headed in the wrong direction. If you feel this way, then I invite you to do something about it. Instead of complaining and waiting for someone else to do something, follow the counsel of JFK and do something for someone else. Acts of kindness change the life of those who receive, as well as those who give.

If you wish to serve on a work crew with me, please contact Mariam Cook at hurricanevolunteers@gmail.com for details.