Our daily bread. Simple things like food and shelter and heat that I take for granted, but I find myself thinking about more and more in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. I live in the hurricane's path and had little or no damage to my house, other than an inconvenient power outage for a few days. I was in Europe and returned home shortly after my neighborhood's power was restored, so I actually never even had to endure any loss of heat or power. The worse thing that happened to me was I had to toss out the contents of my refrigerator and freezer. Thousands of others weren't so lucky. If you have a few minutes, click on this link to get a sense of the damage. You will be stunned.
Many of those who lost everything were ordinary, working-class people whose dream was to get their kids through college, to pay off their mortgage and retire someday. Now they're left with no way to provide basic needs for their families, like a roof over their heads or a hot meal. To make matters worse, they were dealt an additional blow by the strong Nor'eastern storm that hit shortly afterwards.
This disaster really struck a chord for me, because it's in a region where I live, in places - like the Jersey Shore - where I have spent many happy hours. When it hits so close to home, you suddenly realize that it could have been your house or your car that was crunched by a falling tree or blown away like pick-up-sticks. These things could happen to anyone anywhere.
There are thousands of people who survived Hurricane Sandy and who need a lot of help. They'll continue to need help for months -- for years to come. Volunteers have stepped forward to help in many different ways, and it has been heartening to see the outpouring of support. It's going to be a long winter for those affected and there are many ways to help, whether you live in the affected areas, or are far away. If you live in New Jersey, read about some of the ways here. For New Yorkers, check here.
I've had a few setbacks in life and what I've learned from them is two things: Help others and live like there's no tomorrow. Part of the reason I love to travel is because I've had too many object lessons in the last few years showing me that life is fragile and you should enjoy what time you have right now. And I do. This blog will soon be back to normal and I'll be posting recipes related to my recent trip to France and Italy. But not today. Today I want to help - and give thanks in many ways for the blessings I have been lucky enough to receive, including my daily bread. I've already donated food and supplies and volunteered at one of the seaside New Jersey towns. In addition, I'll send $5 to the Red Cross for each comment you leave on this post. If you know of other resources, please share them. Thanks.
"We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give." - Winston Churchill