Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bone Chilling Reminder

We're soft. I'm soft anyhow. I'm a creature-comfort-lovin' gal. So when it gets chilly in Tillie...

Now I really can't complain. In addition to the countless children, teens, women and men on the streets of our fine country without homes prior to Hurricane Sandy, many more folks are learning the hard way how it is to be chilled to the bone.

Electricity still stymied by dangling wires. Furnaces slimed with salt and silt grime. And progress too slow to beat the path of the nor'easter heading in Sandy's footsteps. It's ugly.

For proof of ugliness--the kind most of us have to acknowledge owning at least a part of--the tragic story of a mother whose 2 toddlers slipped out of her storm-wearied arms in New York this past week. Turned away as she begged for help, maybe because her dark skin fired up fear, her boys were washed away forever. Inexcusably.

The bone-chilling cold has settled in over the northern part of the country, showing no mercy for those without electricity after the storm. Well, lest we forget, far too many don't have heat in their homes thanks to the economic storms that have battered those with limited resources.

One noble effort to call attention to this atrocity is heating up in Bangor, ME, the freezy-ass capital of the U.S. Right outside Stephen King's radio station (yes, THAT SK!), my dear friend Pat LaMarche is freezing, intentionally, living this week in what is playfully dubbed the "Hobbit House," a doghouse-like structure that lacks a whole lot as far as protection from the cold.

She's raising money and, more importantly, attention for the issue of heating inequity. It boils down to millions of babies, toddlers, children, teens, parents and senior citizens unable to stay warm. Too expensive. Houses too riddled with poverty-induced gaps that allow cold air in and heat out. Households that go up in smoke when dangerous practices are employed to stay warm.

In every community, someone--besides homeless families--suffers from cold at some point. Those whose houses were whomped by Sandy can often be heard whining about their discomfort. It takes a whole lot of self-control (which I'm about to lose here) to not harshly remind them that people suffer lots worse every day. They do.

If the cold can cause us to huddle together and warm our hearts, then bring on an Arctic blast. Just make sure that I'm out of the path of the north winds. Tillie doesn't like cold.
To help the Pat LaMarche's gallant efforts, here's the link for donations. Do it. It will warm your cold heart, and will touch lives whose existence seems more than a little bleak. 


Jessica Eik said...

Our electric cooperative here in western North Carolina allows us to contribute whatever amount we want each month on our bill to a fund that helps those who in need. Also, one of the first things that happened in 2008 was the distribution of materials and labors to those with homes (trailers, usually) who needed insulation installed or upgrades to help keep costs down. Is there nothing like that in Maine?

Diane Nilan said...

Unfortunately, the need far exceeds the available resources. And limits are placed on the number of times a household can ask for help to better ration the limited resources.

It's the age old problem. We THINK the problem is taken care of, but we rarely hear about those not getting help...until my s-hero Pat LaMarche comes along and does her in-your-face stint in the Hobbit House.