Family Road Trip to Joplin, Missouri to Help Tornado Victims
When we blocked a week for summer vacation this year, I had no idea where we'd go, but I was pretty sure it would be my favorite town in Colorado. This time last summer we were fly fishing, river rafting, and hiking mountains near Pagosa Springs. I was looking forward to repeating the experience, but mother nature had other plans for us.
Instead of making the trek to Colorado as anticipated, in a few days, I'll load my two boys into the car for a 6-hour drive from Dallas to Joplin, Missouri, where one of the United States' deadliest tornados hit, devastating the small town.
I've never been to Joplin, but with one click of the mouse, we sent an email to collect donations for the tornado survivors, and the supplies have been coming in each day. My oldest son, pictured to the left, has been helping organize the donations, including these bottled waters.
One young girl survived in a bathtub with her dog. Their home was completely decimated. But they both survived.
Animals have been found in the wreckage, and volunteers are driving in from all over the country to help search, reunite them with their owners, find lost photos, cook, provide transportation, and just show support.
The man in the picture below is actually searching for his wife, in their car, which he located in the Wal-Mart parking lot after the tornado.
The store was devastated, with only one wall left standing. Lives were lost, canned goods, Wal-Mart clothes, food, and home goods were strewn through the air, and yet he and his wife walked out from behind the lone-standing wall. Alive!
As we set off on the trip of a lifetime, I'll think of all the ways to talk about the tornado and about material things with my children—what matters, compassion, natural disasters, and why it's important to truly be a part of this world.
Giving back to people who gave lost everything is sure to change my family's perspective.
What are some lessons you'd like to teach your kid a this summer? How does giving to others help change your perspective?
Tammy Kling is a life coach, advocate for the homeless, and international author of 29 books including The Compass. Tammy is also the founderr of Write it Out, an organization that helps gang members, the homeless, and those living on the street write out their hopes & dreams via writers workshops, free journals and various other resources.
In addition to writing and coaching, Tammy is a mom of two boys, an avid trail and mountain runner, blogger, and adventure travel writer.