A week after Hurricane Harvey hit their community, my Texan friend’s 6 year old son asked a question as he helped pass out 150 sack lunches around a flood-affected neighborhood Sunday morning.

“Why is everyone smiling when they’ve lost everything?”

She answered, “Because kindness makes people happy, kiddo.”

Two weeks ago we watched TV and Facebook helplessly while Hurricane Harvey came barrelling down on the Gulf, parked a deluge of water, and changed the lives of friends in Texas and Louisiana.

Now it’s two weeks later and we see Irma wreaking devastation in a collision course with Florida.

Meanwhile the West is literally blazing with heat and wildfires.

Mercy! (It sure seems terrific to live in Northeast Ohio).

Feeling relieved is not enough, though, is it? Now, more than ever, our whole nation needs to be one community. Not just in feeling compassion but in taking action.

Cafe O’Play been collecting diapers for the Texas Diaper Bank and has already sent 6 full boxes in 6 days. (Help us double that amount! (https://www.facebook.com/cafeoplaystow/photos/a.473727702767366.1073741827.377539325719538/1080461298760667/?type=3&theater)

In addition, John has organized a service trip to Dickinson, TX that will be taking about 13 people from Ohio to assist in the cleanup recovery of this severely-hit community. (There is room for more, and we are collecting practical donations this Sunday, Sept. 10th from 12:30pm-5pm at Holy Family Church in Stow. For more info: https://www.facebook.com/Holy-Family-Helps-Dickinson-Recovery-Trip-291247917949076/)

But get ready Country, because if Irma has anything to say about it, we are just getting started and more help will be needed.

I think it’s important that all of us be prepared to roll up our sleeves in some way. This is not the time to be thinking “it’s someone else’s problem.”

Years ago, during WWII, the whole nation banded together to support the war effort and help stop a madman who was destroying Europe. Everyone had to sacrifice. There was rationing, shortages, scrap aluminum and rubber drives, and Rosie the Riveter.  

In the coming weeks and months, we may need to be prepared for that WWII-type focus.

Though all of these events are both unsettling and frightening, we must remember that good IS coming out of this and can still come out of it.

Through all of this, our nation is remembering what really matters: People. Caring. And kindness.

My Texas friend’s 6 year old son had a realization earlier last week after a crash course in volunteer relief work. He saw his own vulnerability, and he also saw strangers come together.

He said, “The whole world is a family. That’s how God meant the world to be. Connected. Not separated.”

These things are what make us human and they are a balm for both the giver and receiver.

One of the gentlemen going on the trip to TX just told my husband  “This has been a hard year for me. But the opportunity to do some good for someone else has encouraged me. It’s been good for my soul.”

Now it’s time to get ready to help Florida.

I just saw a Facebook post of a friend of mine in South FL. He drove his wife and three small children 17 hours in bumper to bumper traffic to evacuate. His back bumper got smashed in due to the conditions. He had to precisely calculate his gas mileage in order to know when to wait in line for a fill up and when to keep going.

After they reached their destination, he posted “That moment when you realize you can lose it all and still have everything you need.”

Hey, family, are your sleeves rolled up?

Are you ready?

Take heart.

Kindness makes people happy.