Matthew Brings Change
It seems like an obvious statement to make, but things have changed since the storm. It could be something as simple as a downed tree to something as large as loved ones being gone. We have been contacting 4-H families who were affected by the storm. Like the rest of our community, some lost everything they owned; others were merely inconvenienced by the loss of power and maybe water. The one thing the storm didn’t take away is the size of our 4-H families’ hearts, even in the midst of the fallout of the storm.
Right after the storm hit, our 4-H families were responding to the needs of the community. Some cooked for power crews, emergency responders, and those who found themselves without a home. Some took in family, friends, and neighbors while others started collecting supplies. Some 4-H members gathered friends and went to shelters to try to entertain other children. Others used their time out of school to head to area churches, or even the Southeastern N.C. Agricultural Events Center, to help give out supplies. I can’t say I have ever been so proud to see so many of our youth out helping in their communities and making an impact in people’s lives.
Our Robeson County 4-H members weren’t the only ones making a difference. Across the state, 4-H clubs have made collections and are working to make sure the needs of those hit hardest by the storm are met. They have sent clothes, water, food, and prayers. This past week, I spoke with a 4-H club leader from outside of Charlotte who is working on a donation for December; they know the need is not going to just end in the next week or two. They called to ask if it was okay if their church joined in, because they wanted to help too. If that doesn’t make your heart grow just a little more, I don’t know what will.
That being said, I have to give it to New Hampshire 4-H. A state with 10 counties mobilized quickly to send new and gently used clothes, bedding, towels, and décor. All in all, we have received more than 30 boxes of items. Probably the box that touched me the most was a box of small toys. Action figures, transformers, bulldozers, stuffed animals, and children’s books each carefully wrapped in bubble wrap. As the story goes, it came from a little boy who was so affected by the news of other children losing everything, including their toys, that he picked out his favorite toys to share with those who no longer had anything, boxed them up himself, and gave them as part of their 4-H drive. If that isn’t a testament to the 4 Hs (Head, Heart, Hands, and Health), I don’t know what is.
We will be talking about Matthew’s devastation for years to come. I hope in the same breath we talk about the physical changes the storm made to our community and lives, we can remember the support of others, their generous spirit, and love that will hopefully create a positive change and start the healing process.
For more information, please contact Shea Ann DeJarnette, Extension 4-H Youth Development Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 671-3276, by E-mail at Shea_Ann_DeJarnette@ncsu.edu, or visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/. North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.