Like I said on Friday, parts of my area got the hammer dropped on them pretty hard by tornadoes, rain, and now snow. The towns of Marysville and Henryville, Indiana, and West Liberty, Kentucky, and a lot of other places are hurting right now. The outpouring of support from Louisville and beyond has been immense.
A friend of ours was caught in the tornado in Henryville when she was on the way to the Catholic church there for a fish fry. She got to the church basement just as the tornado hit, and has been working there pretty much non-stop since. She reports that a group of people from Louisville showed up on Saturday to help, and have been doing everything they can. One of them looked for a place to put the trash and debris they were clearing away from the church and its area, and asked where the dumpsters were. Her answer was simply "There aren't any. They blew away." Our friend reports that the lady made a cell-phone call to 1-800-GOT-JUNK, a business that specializes in hauling off stuff and renting dumpsters. After she explained where she was calling from and what she needed, she was patched through to the top of that companies food chain, and was told to expect dumpsters and trucks by sundown. By sundown, trucks, dumpsters, and other supplies had arrived in the area.
Another lady in that group noticed that the water wasn't working and that the toilets had to be hand filled. She made a call to several of the companies in the area that rent port-a-potties, and on Sunday they started trucking them in.
One of my brother-in-laws is an EMT with one of the local ambulance companies, and he's been at work pretty much non-stop since Friday morning. He's not sharing any of the stories of what he's been doing, but I know he's exhausted. Today he took a break and posted about two programs from Duracell that I want to point out. First, there's the "Power Those Who Protect Us" campaign, in which the company donated 18,000,000 batteries to volunteer fire departments around the country. Some of those batteries are being used in the recovery and relief efforts in Indiana and Kentucky right now. He also said that the Duracell Power Relief Trailer is also making the rounds in the area. This program allows people in impacted areas to recharge devices, use satellite phones, and use computers to get messages out.
My BIL also reports that the Tide detergent people are helping out with their Loads of Hope program. This effort brings brings a mobile laundry to disaster zones so that those in need have clean clothes. It's a sanitation and morale booster, and a lot of us know just how good it feels to put on clean clothes after days spent working in filthy conditions.
I'm sure there are other examples I don't know specifics about. My friend in Henryville reports that the basement of that Catholic church is stuffed to the gills with donated relief supplies, and they're being replaced as fast as they can be given out. Someone is donating those supplies, and someone is transporting them into the disaster zone. No-one seems to be advertising their work, so I can't finger those doing it.
So what's my point?
We just witnessed a summer where the media splashed scenes of people protesting the evils of large corporations. Companies were accused of being crooked thieves who did nothing but suck the lifeblood out of communities and the common man. We were led to believe that capitalism and corporations could never be a force for good.
In these communities, large corporations are giving back to their customers when they need it. They're not asking for payment to do it, and other than having their logo on the side of the trucks and the bags they hand out, they're not asking for people to buy their product. All they're doing is making sure that what they can do, they are doing.
Now I ask, where are the Occupy Louisville people? Are they breaking down their tents, cleaning them up, and donating them to families that need the shelter? Are they travelling the 30 miles or so from downtown Louisville to help clean up or hand out relief supplies? I see no evidence of it on the news, and no reports from people I know who are actually working in the disaster zones.
We, as people who believe that even with all of its inherent flaws the market finds a way to do good, need to stress these things when confronted by those who want to tear the system down. When I see an army of hippies descending on these areas, I will listen more intently to their chants about the evils of capitalism. When their energy is focused on aiding those truly in need, I will buy that their hearts are in the right place.
Until then, I'm just going to remember the 'evil' corporations that opened their pocketbooks and warehouses to help people I know.