Thursday, May 2, 2013

As many of you know, two weeks ago there was a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas that killed around 20 people, injured over four times that number, and destroyed several blocks of homes, including an apartment complex and a middle school. My family and I were in Missouri when it happened, and we were left worrying about this adorable town with a heavy Czech heritage from far away. My dad's former co-worker used to have his cows butchered at the Nemeck Brothers butchershop that used to operate there, and since he would sell our family half of a cow every year, my dad and I would make a trip down there every year to pick up boxes and boxes of beef, and I always enjoyed getting to see the town. 
When we got back home from Missouri on Monday, my mom asked the West Church of Christ if there was anything we could do to help, and they said "yes!" So, early Tuesday morning, my mom, my two sisters and I drove down to West. We stayed at a hotel 20 minutes away, and stayed until Thursday. As soon as we entered the church building that morning, we were put to work making food to hand out, putting stamps on envelopes, and organizing the donation table. on, a cold front rolled through with an absolutely biting wind. It dropped about 15 degrees in five minutes, and we were dressed for spring. Several people were kind enough to lend me some clothes. Everyone was absolutely freezing, especially those (like me) who were stuck sitting at and watching the donation table, which didn't have a lot of traffic that day. Other people were sorting through the mountain of clothes, shoes, blankets and pillows that were donated over on the field next to the church building. There was a giant trailer which was filled with clothing, and another tent across from it for baby items and toiletries. There really weren't a lot of people who came asking for donated items the first two days, because there were funerals and a memorial service (attended by President Obama) going on those days.
On Wednesday, there were so many donations! Bag after bag after bag of clothing was brought to the church there to sort and hand out. Just when the volunteers thought they had a grip on sorting the clothing, two pickup trucks full of garbage bags STUFFED with clothes would drive up. It's now to the point where the church has stopped asking for clothing - there's too much for the workers to really handle. We worshiped with the congregation there that night. The preacher and his family were homeless at the time, because the officials weren't allowing them into their badly destroyed home. I was amazed when he said during Bible class that night that he was glad his home was destroyed, because that meant he could share the gospel through these events. True faith like that never ceases to inspire me, and many others, I'm sure.
After we went back home on Thursday, mom convinced my dad and several other people to go back on Saturday. As of Saturday, there were three giant tents set up, all jam packed with furniture, clothes, food, diapers, dishes, shoes, books, toiletries, bedding sets, blankets, pillows, and pet food. The generosity of people is astonishing. They want to help, they want to donate, they want to make sure that everyone who had a loved one lost, a job lost, or a home lost has everything they need to be as comfortable as they can.
If you want to help West in anyway, please contact the West church of Christ. They have a Facebook page, which is updated very frequently about what's going on. If you want to help West in anyway, please contact West church of Christ. They have a Facebook page, which is updated very frequently about the happenings there with the relief efforts. Last I checked, they needed items like: dog food, jam, dog treats, and dry milk. If you can't donate time, money, or items, donate your prayers (I Thessalonians 5:17) because they are the most precious resource available to humanity. Click here to go to the page.