Hurricane Sandy devastates, we can help

The next biggest news story going around these days, outside of the election of course, has been Hurricane Sandy, the second most expensive hurricane since Katrina.
As far as damage is concerned, besides Katrina, no other hurricane has come close to causing this much economical damage.
Here in the south, we have experienced a little bit of unusually cold and hot weather, but nothing entirely too earth shattering. No flooding, power outages, or fires have made our local headlines.
The northeast, however, has been flooded, flipped, blown away, torn apart, and isolated both by physical restrictions caused by flooding and the inability to connect to other people via internet and phone lines.
I don’t have any family living in the northeastern area of the country, but some of my friends do have family members and friends who have been heavily affected.
The concern on my friends’ faces as they tried to get in touch with their family members was genuinely moving.
Until you really experience the type of destruction that hurricanes can do to those you love first hand, you don’t really understand what mother nature is capable of.
To me, in my ignorant state, Hurricane Sandy was just another bad storm. Once the pictures started rolling in, I quickly changed my mind.
Hurricane Katrina happened back in 2005, and while the Gulf has recovered considerably, there is still a lot of damage left to clean up.
I took a trip with my family to Mississippi a year after Katrina invaded the gulf coast and the destruction that I witnessed was awe inspiring, but not in a good way.
I wanted to do something to help them, I wanted to reach out and help rebuild an area I have traveled to rather frequently.
This year I have an opportunity to go on a mission trip over winter break with Wesley Foundation of Macon to help clean up and rebuild a gulf area in Louisiana that was badly affected by Hurricane Katrina.
It has been around seven years since Hurricane Katrina hit and the destruction is still noticeable.
Now, considering the recent state of the northeast, I would hope that the destruction that has been caused by Hurricane Sandy is not still around seven years from now.
As of Nov. 1, Bloomberg reported at least 40 U.S. deaths had been reported. Economic losses were expected to climb as high as $50 billion.
Eight million homes in the northeastern U.S. were without power. Hundreds of thousands of people evacuated various affected cities.
More than 15,000 flights were grounded from all airports in the path of Sandy. To be dramatic, Bloomberg also stated that Lower Manhattan was “dark, silent, and underwater.”
Most of the iconic New York skyline was in the dark, leaving an ominious feeling in the air as Hurricane Sandy made her way across the city that finally went to sleep.
More recent news via The New American says, “‘Frankenstorm’ Sandy may be remembered as the storm with the proportionately worst aftermath in American history.”
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is offering help, but limited amounts of help. As a result, most of the cleanup and relief is going to fall on the shoulders of individuals who will selflessly give their time and man power to help.
With the understanding that cleanup and relief efforts are falling to the shoulders of average citizens, I think we, as Mercer Students, should start an effort to help our northern counterparts.
Our Local Engagement Against Poverty (LEAP) efforts have grown dramatically in just one year, why shouldn’t we expand our efforts to the northern part of the United States?
Mercer on Mission would also be a great way to reach out. A trip to New York, New Jersey, or another affected area shouldn’t be too terribly hard to conduct over the various upcoming breaks
Disclaimer: This notion is coming from a student who has never been actively involved with Mercer on Mission. So the full extent of what goes into a trip like this is beyond me.
With the destruction done by Katrina having taken seven plus years to clean up, Mercer students can form relief efforts in the areas affected by both Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy that will hopefully continue over the next few generations of Mercer.
As I mentioned before, I’m not entirely sure what kind of avenues to go through to get this idea set in motion, but I think this idea could get our campus more interconnected with the greater area just outside our backyard, so to speak.
My hope is that those of you involved with LEAP and Mercer on Mission can make this idea happen. If you do, I would love to be involved!