Late yesterday afternoon I got an email from a woman in my mom's club who was hosting a "Sack Lunch Prep" play date. We would gather together, make sack lunches and then take them into the community to hand out to those working on recovery. I was ecstatic. I had been feeling like my hands were tied. It wouldn't really be safe for me to strap Emily in the Baby Bjorn and start ripping out drywall. I was excited to help. So, I volunteered to bring drinks and help deliver the lunches.
We prepared 88 sack lunches. And by "we" I mean the other ladies. I had to let Emily nap. So, another club member and I headed out with our lunches and drinks. We had two target areas in mind. The first was the home of a former club member. When we got there, we had been beat to the punch by the YMCA. They had delivered lunches all over the neighborhood. So we gave out a few drinks and headed to the next spot.
We had good word that the folks in the next spot had been passed over when it came to food. Turns out Cheeseburger Charleys heard that same word. And really, no offense to the hard working lunch packers, but who is going to want PB & J when you could have a cheeseburger? So far we had not handed out a single lunch. I was on a serious countdown to both of my kids losing it. I was sweating. Doesn't anyone want my sack lunches???
At the Bellevue Community Center they had set up an information station. I thought for sure we could unload our lunches here. We had to park quite a ways from the center. I left my car running and had my friend watching my car. While I ran up the sidewalk to ask the Salvation Army if they wanted our lunches, a lady decided my kids were being neglected and was on the verge of calling the police. My friend was shouting from the parking lot "I'm watching them! I"m watching them!" I came down the hill at about that time and said, "I'm coming". I had a big smile on my face. You should have seen the look that lady gave me. She had no idea how dangerously close she came to having her teeth punched out. Oh and, the Salvation Army is not allowed to accept outside food. Are you keeping count? ZERO lunches distributed.
I had no choice but to head home at this point. Emily was beside herself with hunger and Drew was beside himself because of Emily's crying. I would just try to give out the meals for dinner.
I fed the baby, put the kids down for a nap, and watched Survivor.
When the kids woke up I piled them back in the car to get those meal out. Because I'm a slave driver like that. We headed to another part of Bellevue and to make a long, hot story short, we gave out exactly ZERO lunches. I was unable to give away free food. I will say that my ice cold Powerades were a big hit this afternoon and you should have SEEN Drew handing out those drinks. My child, who will barely say hi to people he knows well, was walking up to total strangers asking, "Would you like a cold drink?" Who could say no to a tiny guy in a Superman outfit peddling Powerade?? Don't think I didn't consider giving him some sack lunches.
Tough day for team Hull, it's true. But, there is good news here. The Bellevue community, staying true to its' southern roots, is keeping everyone well fed. I love it. One group had two different deliveries of sack lunches that they had not finished when another woman showed up with three pans of lasagna! I'm not going to be one bit surprised when the casseroles start rolling out.
The piles of debris are growing higher. I visited one home today, far away from the Bellevue epicenter that had been flooded on both floors. It was a large two story house and the water line reached almost to the top of the second story shutters. The other houses on the street, all ranch style homes, had been completely submerged. More homes where people had poured their life savings into renovating the house.
Even with all the pain, the attitude I keep encountering is one of "Yes it's awful, but there's work to do." People all over the city have put their hands to the task of making things better.