Volunteers Washed Away in Severe Weather

Here in Washington, D.C. most people have stocked their cabinets with water, batteries and non-perishable foods and settled into their cozy homes to weather the severe rain and wind that Hurricane Sandy is unleashing. But what about those who don’t have a roof over their head?

Miriam's Kitchen

The author cleans up after volunteering at Miriam’s Kitchen in Washington, DC.

The reality is that their situation becomes very fragile during these times because many of the services the homeless rely on operate only with the generous help of volunteers. And with the severe weather and treacherous conditions volunteers are often unable to show up for their scheduled shifts.

Food & Friends, a DC based organization that prepares and delivers thousands of meals to individuals in and around the nation’s capital who are living with life-challenging illnesses, put out a call for help early this morning. “If you have a car and are willing to help, please call us,” was the plea sent out today over social media platforms. Much more than the 6,000 meals that they deliver are at stake – people’s lives are in jeopardy in many cases as some of their clients depend on this food on a daily basis and might not have anything else to eat if the organization isn’t able to mobilize volunteers.

Across town in Northwest, Miriam’s Kitchen opened up at 6:30 to greet 113 drenched men and women. “It felt good to get inside and get a hot cup of coffee,” one of the guests shared with me. Although they have modified their hours, Miriam’s Kitchen has no plans to close their doors during this difficult time. But they need volunteers too. A post on their Facebook page thanked the three volunteers who trekked in to volunteer at both breakfast and dinner today. Normally they have three or four times that many volunteers.

Think about the shelters, kitchens and other services that might be just a block or two away from where you live. Of course don’t put yourself in harm’s way, but if you are in a position to lend a hand tomorrow, consider taking a break from sitting in front of the Weather Channel (they’ll have it on wherever you go) and give them a call and see if they need your help. Not only will you be making the difference in the lives of others – you will feel a lot better about yourself. And who couldn’t use a cheerful dose of positivity during these cold and raining days. Be safe everyone.

UPDATE: Food & Friends announced that thanks to the tremendous effort of volunteers they were able to deliver all their meals today.