When we first drove through Joplin on our way to Neosho, Tyler and I were just blown away by how much damage the tornado had done. It looked as though a bomb had been detonated. What’s been so touching to hear is the survival stories that arise about people’s fight for their life. There was one woman, Natalie Gonzalez, who ran to the bathroom and huddled in the tub with her son. At the last-minute, she got her son to put on his bicycle helmet which saved his life when the toilet flew up out of the ground and hit his head. I heard one other woman’s story in which she was covered by debris but her two fingers were sticking out which led rescuers to find her! How amazing! Here are some photos of the damage…
In addition to the touching survival stories, are the helping hands. My step-mother’s best friend, Jen Matters, is heading up something called chests of hope which will give out chest filled with toys and games for kids. So often kids receive food and shelter but disasters like these take away their childhood. This is an effort to give kids beyond just what they need.
What Tyler and I helped out with was with Suzanne’s Natural foods, where I used to work when I lived here. They are serving healthy food to relief workers that are helping with clean-up. Beverly, who works at Suzanne’s, was aware that a couple of the workers were vegan and were working off white bread alone. She is offering roasted veggies, fruit salad, hardy bread and more; food that contains a lot of nutrients to keep the relief worker’s energy up!
There’s so much relief work being done, I’m amazed. These are just who I know the most about. Please keep Joplin in your prayers, they’ve got a long road ahead of them.