Anatomy of a Small Relief Effort, Part 2

As I wrote on Tuesday, my friends David and Meghan Rowe are staging a relief effort this Saturday at their restaurant in Columbia for the tornado victims of Joplin, and they asked for my help. We are collecting hygiene items and bottled water. None of us have done anything like this before. I’m writing stuff down that I learn along the way.

This idea was born on Monday. It’s Thursday. Our relief effort – collecting hygiene items and bottled water – is coming together for Saturday in D. Rowe’s parking lot in Columbia.

Here are some more things I’ve learned in the past 48 hours:


You can’t be afraid to pimp your friends, as long as ... you don’t ask for stuff all the time. David and I both try to do a lot of things for people without asking for stuff in return. It’s how David got the University of Missouri Football Team involved. It’s how I got (my client) Epic Dental’s President Donald Bailey to donate more than $1000 worth of toothpaste.

(By the way, speaking of the Mizzou Football team, the coaches’ kids are going to have a lemonade stand at our relief effort Saturday. They wanted to help, too. Isn’t that cool?)

We’re so blessed to have experts as partners with the capacity to stage and store until Joplin’s ready for our help. The Food Bank has drivers ready to go, but reports out of Joplin indicate they don’t have the capacity yet to distribute the supplies we’ll collect. Once our partners at The Food Bank get the call, their drivers can deploy at a moment’s notice.

After spending just a couple days doing this, I’m in awe of first responders and people who run into the destruction and keep their heads as best they can. If I would have learned this at a younger age, I would have chosen a different profession.

Speaking of awe, Joplin native Brent Beshore and his team have coordinated with The Heart of Missouri United Way to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in just days. They have a fundraiser tonight (Thursday, May 26) at The Museao building in Columbia. He and his team have done otherwordly things in such a short amount of time. He’s done his family and his hometown so proud.

So have so many others. The stories of grace and glory – of semi-trucks and church prayer groups – stream in from across the globe. My client in the UK emailed me this morning to see how we were doing and wondering if there was anything she could do.

The one thing I feel kinda bad about – or rather, I feel bad that I feel bad: I’m sorry, but I’ve seen several cases of businesses getting on facebook and saying, “Hey, for each person who likes our page, we’ll donate a buck,” or “If we get to 800 followers by 3pm, we’ll donate $2500.”

That just leaves me feeling all oily. Am I wrong? Is any donation – even if it kinda sorta appears to be self-serving – a good donation?

I feel bad that I feel bad.

We’re all a little gunshy here in Missouri. Yesterday afternoon, in my central part of the state, more than a dozen counties were under tornado warnings at the same time. As our sirens were going off in Columbia, all I could think about was my son – downtown at school, and how we couldn’t be there with him.

And, as I sat there feeling helpless, I felt guilty for being so selfish. My son was safe and sound in one of the oldest, most solid brick buildings in Boone County, and he would be fine, and we would probably be fine.

I’ve learned I don’t have problems. I have a few inconveniences here and there, but I don’t have any real problems.

This afternoon, David’s doing a bunch of media interviews about the effort on Saturday. A local radio group – Cumulus Media – has really reached out to us to help us spread the word even though they have their own efforts they’ve been conducting.

KOMU-TV has really worked hard to spread the word for us as well. They have a telethon tonight in conjunction with Beshore’s event at The Museao building.

Lots of people making things happen. Lots of people doing good deeds. Lots of people realizing their troubles ain’t so troubling.

Gotta run. There’s work to be done.

David text

(Disclosure – D. Rowe’s is not a full-time client of mine, but I’ve done projects for them for money in the past. And for smoked meats as well. This project is all for free, obviously. At least, I hope that’s obvious. You never know anymore, do you? Okay. I’m going to stop talking now.)

Speak Your Mind