Difficult Days

(this post will appear slightly chronologically out of order)

I wrote each of these to thousands of Rick Springfield fans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Sent:  Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005
Subject:  Katrina

I have spent my morning counting my blessings while running my two youngest children to their first day of school.  I spent the morning waiting for busses that never came, in the rain, explaining to a barely verbal special needs three year old why his bus never arrived and to a way too over excited five year old why hers didn’t, running each one to their different schools and bitching mostly the entire time.  At some point during all this, I had to stop and think:  you know what?  These are little things.  They have a school to go to.  They have a bus that will come…tomorrow.  They have food in their fridge and snacks to come home to and new clothes for their special days and a house to walk into that has a roof and toilets and water that runs and electricty too.

These are small things.

This is about humanity.  This is about human decency.  This is about our fellow Americans who are living in conditions (if they are lucky enough to be alive) that most of us can’t imagine.  I keep watching the New Orleans news pages and the warnings get more dire every time I pull them up.  I watched the mayor talk about telling his officers to “push aside the bodies and try to save the living”.

Those are big things.

Today was declared a day of prayer by Governor Blanco in Louisiana.  I can’t say enough prayers for these victims of this tragedy, of those beautiful towns and places that are no more.  I can’t wrap my brain around my anguish and fear.  I hope at the very least that all of us, in whatever religion or belief system you have, are offering up prayers.

Yes, we are challenging most of us here to do more.  I will probably upset some people by saying this, but it is truly my belief that many of us can do more.  If you can afford a concert ticket, a TDAY CD, a T shirt, a trip to see Rick, if that was OK to put on your credit card, but this isn’t, I think that you need a reality check.  I think that a good many of us have five dollars to spare.  I don’t want it, it’s not for me…watch the news for a minute and please tell me that you can’t afford another five dollars on that credit card.  I can’t truly wrap my brain around THAT mentality either.  If you’re sitting in a house with electricity, with a closet of clothes, some boxes in your basement of stuff you don’t have a use for anymore…I think that most of us could do something. These are our friends, our neighbors, our countrymen.  This could have been you, or me, or your brother, or sister, or aunt.  If it were them, you’d want someone to help.

That being said, there are so many non monetary ways to help.  Of course prayer, but also donating blood (it is SO important to do this).  Call a local hospital if you don’t have a local Red Cross.  You could call and see if they need help at your local hospital or Red Cross; so many of them are sending people down to the affected areas that they need replacements in your hometowns.  You could organize a water drive, or a food drive, or clothing drive at a local grocery store, WalMart or another place of business.  Use your time if you don’t have money.  Each of us has something to give.  Donate your services if you have a skill, and take the funds raised and send that along.

There are so many creative ways you could help.  Money is easy for many but not for all, but instead of using all of our creativity to find ways to attack each other and argue, how about trying to use that energy to find a different way to do something good?  I’m tired of the arguing.  I’m tired of people trying to find fault wherever they turn.  I’m tired of people never offering to help but always offering a criticism.  Why is this?

Take your talents and your light and your heart and put it towards the good.  Please.  Please stop hating each other and using good things to create bad.  You may not like this, that’s fine.  You may not like me, that’s fine too.  You may not like Ally or Anna or Vivian or the man in the moon.  I don’t care.   I don’t care if you send in a note to me about our drive or not.  I care that you please, find it in your heart, a way to do SOMETHING for these people.

I leave you with this quote:

“It is vital that people ‘count their blessings’ to appreciate what they possess without having to undergo its actual loss.”  Abraham Maslow.

I pray that each of you can appreciate what you possess and choose to share your life, light and love with those affected by this terrible tragedy.

Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2005 5:04 PM
Subject: How to Help: Katrina Relief Efforts

Hi Everyone,

Here’s how to help:

  • Donation of money to Red Cross, Salvation Army or a host of other organizations.  There are even animal rescue organizations that need donations right now.  Money is the biggest thing because it helps the survivors with lodging, food, just about everything you can imagine.  There are links on our page to places you can donate to (both online, phone or in person).
  • Donation of goods and/or services to various organizations.  The Red Cross and other organizations desperately need donations of bottled water, diapers, baby formula, personal care items, first aid items, insect repellent, clothing.  They also can use your time in doing all manner of things….here in NYC they are asking for help just answering phones, but also putting together personal care packages and shipments that will be sent down to the affected areas.  Contact your local Red Cross or other service organization to see what they need.
  • Donation of blood.  There is already a blood shortage right now and there will be much of this precious resource needed.  You can contact any local hospital or Red Cross to see about where and when you can donate.
  • Red Cross is looking for volunteers who can be away from home for two weeks or more to be trained to assist in disaster relief.  Our local Red Cross is offering training in the next few days for those who can assist in this most needed way.

If you do any of these things, you can be entered into the Shock Team raffles that are being held for those who help this cause.  We have had lots of great prizes donated, from CDs and posters, to the rare RS Image Lamp that was sold on ricksmerch a few years ago, to a coveted meet and greet for two to be used at a future show.  We are still getting donations all the time (thanks to all who have donated items), so we will keep our raffles open until September 12th.  If you buy a ticket today, you’ll still be eligible for any of the added prizes.  Each $20 increment you donate gets you a raffle ticket.

Here’s how to enter:

  • Monetary donation:  It’s as easy as buying anything else online to donate to the cause.  Just send in your donation.  They’ll send you a receipt back.  Cut and paste that receipt (removing your credit card and personal info) and send that to me.  I’ll send you back a confirmation with raffle ticket numbers.
  • Donation:  Scan a copy of your receipt (either goods purchased and donated or your estimated value of donated items) and send that to me.  I’ll send you a confirmation of your raffle ticket numbers.
  • Donation of Blood:  Scan the back of your donor card (or just any paperwork you received when you donated) and you’ll automatically be sent five raffle tickets.
  • Volunteers for the disaster zone:  contact me for details.

Thank you to everyone who has written in with ideas and feedback.  We’re still adjusting this as we go along and hopefully getting some more things in place soon.  But I cannot encourage you enough…please…please help.

Even if you don’t want to participate in our particular initiative, I cannot urge you strongly enough to try and find a way.   A dollar, some old clothes, something you could sell on eBay…if you’re in your own home or your place of work and you’re looking at a computer screen right now, you’re luckier than millions of people down in the Gulf Coast.  Most of us have more than we think we do…please, I cannot urge you strongly enough to put yourself aside today and please help, however you can.

Remember, we have set up our page at www.rickspringfield.net/katrina.htm.

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