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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How do I help half a world away?

A little less than a year ago my hometown, Nashville, TN, experienced devastating flooding.  In one weekend we had unprecedented rain fall that our rivers couldn't hold.  However, that weekend we received very little national press coverage, because that same weekend the Gulf Oil Spill began.  Living in one of the hardest hit areas, yet blessed to be high enough up on a hill that our house was not affected, we had no power, spotty cell service, and were stuck in our neighborhood.  That first night, a friend of a friend spent the night on our couch because he couldn't get home.  Too many of the roads were washed out.

As I was sending texts and posting Facebook updates, I began to realize from the responses from friends and family around the country that they had no idea what was going on.  I was not the only one coming to this realization and on May 4th Patten Fuqua, a local "hockey blogger" posted this on the Section 303 site.  We had pulled together to help one another, and we were all in this together.  From this post the three simple words "We are Nashville" became the rallying cry as we rolled up our sleeves and began to rebuild, and before long "We are Nashville" t-shirts and bumper stickers were being sold to raise money for the relief effort.

As shirts sold out, and then sold out again.  Cool People Care who was selling the shirts began posting updates on Facebook.  It was exciting and comforting to see that orders were coming in from all over country to support our relief.

Fast Forward to Friday morning and waking up to watching the unprecedented Earthquake and subsequent Tsunami in Japan.  And let's be honest, many of us were paralyzed that morning with shock as we watched footage of the devastation.  As I drove my girls to preschool that morning, I counted at least 3 "We are Nashville" bumper stickers, and tearing up, in my mind I thought "We are Japan."

While in contrast the Japanese disaster has received a great deal of media coverage, which it deserves, similarly to the Nashville story, it has continually been reported that there is a sense that the people of Japan have an attitude they are all in this together, and every time I hear that I think "We are Japan."

This morning, as I started reading email and checking Facebook updates, when I came across this post from Faithful Provisons about t-shirts from My Shirt Helps.  I was excited to see that someone was making a shirt that the sales of which would help with the relief effort in Japan.
I love the thought put into the design of this shirt.  If you've ever read Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes then you know that the crane is symbol of healing and hope for the Japanese culture.

These shirts are available at this time for pre-order from My Shirt Helps.

Are there other ways to help?  Of course there are.  I will be the first to admit that this is one of the easier ways to offer aid to Japan, but for so many of us Japan is half a world away, and we don't know where to begin.  This shirt offers us a place to start, and after all, we are Nashville and we are Japan, and we are al  called to "Do all the good [we] can."

"Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as you ever can."
                    ~John Wesley

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