After dropping off the donated supplies - and the supplies purchased with donated funds - we walked the streets feeding people sandwiches, fruit and veggies. While there was a crisis centre set up in their neighborhood many of the people in the hardest hit blocks worked tirelessly without stopping. We offered food and while some people cleaned out our supply and sent us back to the truck to get more, other people initially said no. Those that said no often paused and changed their minds - they were in fact starving but hadn't thought to stop and eat. They were numbed by the overwhelming job of gutting their house and throwing out many items that were most precious to them - mementos and collections from a lifetime lived.
Introducing Norah and allowing her to give her gifts - handmade cards that she labored at for an hour and more (quite a considerable amount of focused time for a 4 year old) - allowed us the opportunity to hear the stories of these people most affected. Stories of loss. Of caring neighbors. Of blessings of new friendships with people that were once strangers who showed and asked "how can I help." Mostly they were stories of amazing people doing amazing things for eachother.
It brought numerous people to tears to get a new homemade memento from Norah who was thoughtful enough to have really worked at these cards "to help the people whose houses got broke from the flood." One woman said that she was going to start her next collection of treasures with the card from Norah. Another couldn't say anything for the tears. People wanted their pictures taken with her. Another lady invited her back next week when their house was back to normal and she would give her a tour. Others loved Norah's curiosity about their story and what happened to them - one lady said she had to throw out her bed but that was okay because she gets to camp in her house now with an air mattress!
It is quite a magical experience tagging along with children. The hugs people received from Norah and Sella filled them up just as much as the sandwiches did.