Archive for Thursday, March 3, 2005

Family identified for tsunami relief project

March 3, 2005

Time heals all wounds, so it is said, except the length of time can sometimes seem like an eternity. The wrath of the tsunami that hit the region of Southeast Asia has pretty much faded into the backburner of the media and our minds, but I'm guessing the people affected by it still live in the pain that is very real and seemingly endless.
Most of you might remember the efforts that were started here in Eudora to help the victims and the wonderful idea that Joe Reitz had as far as supporting a local family or community in that area. The fact is that it has been very difficult to get to the "grassroots" level since there is so much publicity and security in that area.
However, I am glad to report that I was finally able to get a name and pictures of a family that we can directly help. This family lives in Thailand, and it is one whose story didn't make the headlines.
This family was getting ready to move into a new home they were building. The house was near completion and the family was planning to move in January. As you know, the wave hit Dec. 26. This is a family of four with two children ages 9 and 4. The mother lost her job when the hotel she was working at was destroyed by the tsunami, and the father also lost his job. He is now driving the local taxis to make ends meet. They are all currently staying with his in-laws.
The contact I made has sent some pictures of the ruins of their home and a picture of the family. I think this would be a great rallying point for the community of Eudora to adopt this family and help them get a new life started.
I have never been involved in an intimate charitable event where is so personal that we can identify the recipient. I think it is exciting and I can't wait to see how this evolves.
For this to be a success, it would require everyone to be a part of the effort. The local businesses, residents, churches, school and organizations can all be a part of this exciting venture.
Eudora is small enough that we can encourage and support each other in making this a success. So far, I know we have about $150 donated to this cause from the initial plea. I think we can substantially improve on that, especially since we now have "faces" to identify the recipients of our generosity. I know most of us have already done something to help these victims through other means, but this will be exciting because we can do this as a community.
I'd like to encourage everyone to come up with ideas on how we can make this fun and effective. I hope this can be a community effort rather than just a few people getting involved.
I think within this wonderful community of Eudora, we can come up with some innovative ideas for this fund-raiser. Maybe if you own a business you can dedicate a day to collect money for this event or come up with an idea to encourage your employees to give to the cause. I think it would be fun to select a weekend and dedicate it to focusing our efforts to raising money for this family.
I know the Girl Scouts are thinking about doing a bake sale. Maybe we can have a car wash or the restaurants can donate a portion of the sales that weekend to this effort. I am looking for creative ideas to be suggested, and I think it can be a fun weekend that we can invite residents from surrounding areas to visit Eudora and participate.
I hope to get the media in Lawrence and Kansas City to provide coverage for the event.
Aside from doing this for a good cause, I think it will also bring the community together and showcase our community to the rest of the state. Small communities are often overlooked, which may be a good thing. But when something good like this takes place, it is important for others to realize that small communities don't only exist for their own good, but has the capability to come together and make a difference in the stage as big as the world.
One of the biggest traps we can fall into is thinking that someone else is more apt to do this or will be a part of this, and therefore provide the minimal contribution, not just monetary, but also in other ways.
Most of you have heard the saying that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. I hope everyone here can join this bandwagon and make it a success. We all don't need to contribute equal amounts of money to make this a success, but we all need to make an effort to find ways to participate. "Passing the buck" is the surest way to make this effort a failure.
Please contact me through the Eudora News with ideas and thoughts you have or even with your contributions. If there is something you plan to do, let me know so we can highlight your efforts.
I hope to work with the appropriate people to declare a weekend dedicated to supporting this cause. If this is a success, then years down the road, we can recall this event as a memorable and special time of living in Eudora with our families and also as an example to the next generation.
Please don't pass the buck on this. Make history and memories so you can tell your children or grandchildren how you helped change the lives of a family on the other side of the world through the generous efforts of this wonderful community.

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