Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Sidewalk Sale

Drove past this interesting sight in the parking lot of the Grace Baptist Church in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Piled up are clothes sent from caring folks from other parts of the country for those here who are in dire need.

Now I'm not so sure how the distribution system works for all of this, but I've seen similar scenes in other local areas. The piles are there for anyone to pick through.

Fortunately I was good to go with laundry, and I'm glad it hasn't rained, because all that would be left would be wet clothes. Wait, wasn't this what these parking lot items were supposed to replace in the first place?

Here's Luke on the left pictured with the afore mentioned ball of lightning known as Billy Lawson. I joined them at the new setup we have with the Small Business Administration at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

I'm still on call at the local Hancock Bank here in Gautier, but they have no office space for me to use. It's tough talking to people about financial matters in a open bank lobby, so I'm usually walking between locations, which means I'm spending a lot of time in parking lots in 85 degree heat.

Billy read the blog and said he liked it. Later he told Luke he actually didn't care for the blog, it was just a Southerner's way of being polite. We decided that we had to qualify the earlier comparison to Sean Penn (10/5 entry). Although the picture doesn't show it, Billy looks more like Sean Penn post Falcon and the Snowman and pre Madonna.


Blogger Kristen Hains said...

CKW: The picture of all those clothing items just sitting there is shocking. You're right that all it would take was even a simple rain and that parking lot full of donations would just become another victim of circumstance. I suppose that all good intentions are only as effective as the system on the other end that can receive and distribute them. I guess it's another example of why it may be better to donate money to a group like the Red Cross where it can then be properly dispersed as opposed to sending items which may never get dispersed. Perhaps you could suggest to one of your business owners coming in looking for help that a thrift shop might be a good business to pursue. Not only could you help with financing, you could point him to a parking lot containing his opening inventory.

7:35 PM  
Blogger Susan Och said...

When I worked the hurricane relief trailer at Hansen's Grocery, we were not taking any clothing, although people still wanted to donate it. The explanation was simple: after your house and car are washed away you have to carry everything you own with you.

It would have been easier to take clothing. Food, especially food that doesn't need cooking, is heavier and tends to load the springs of the trailer down well before the trailer looks "full". Turning down clothing also meant asking the people in Hansen's parking lot to think beyond the "oh, let's help" reflex and contemplate more exactly what the displacement meant to individual families. A few were miffed, but most "got it" right away.

That was the last day of our local relief effort, September 19, nearly a month ago. Today I read that 600,000 people are living in hotel rooms still awaiting permanent homes. It will be some time before those clothes are truly needed.

8:34 AM  

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