#Snowpocalypseby Montgomery Area Food Bank on 01/31/14
Winter Storm Leon has received national attention and various nicknames as it halted the southeast to a standstill- #Snowpocalypse, #SouthernSnow, #ArcticAttack just to name a few. Around Montgomery, there hasn't been anything like it since the "Blizzard of '93", which was only about 4 inches with snow drifts up to 5-6 feet. And before that, an event like this hasn't happened since the 1970's. Our neighbors to the North find it difficult to understand how the South can shut down over 1-2 inches of snow and freezing rain, but I would challenge them to brave the heat and humidity during the summer months and see if the playing field is even.
Montgomery is central to commuters and businesses alike that travel and distribute to Birmingham and Atlanta, both of which were hit hard during the storm. Children were stranded in schools (11,000 in Alabama alone), abandoned cars were left on several major roadways, and jack-knifed truckers blocked interstates, leaving those stranded to fend for themselves until help came. Although a lot of the stories have been tragic in nature, we also have heard 'Stories of Hope'- those that braved the elements to rescue families and individuals out of their cars, teachers that consoled students throughout the night as they slept in schools, and countless acts of kindness for those that were left stranded. There was the manager that gave out 1,000 sandwiches from Chick-Fil-A to feed motorists left stranded on the interstate in the Birmingham area, and a doctor, that walked six miles to perform a life saving surgery. Unfortunately, there were 5 weather related deaths, and one amazing tale of a woman that gave birth to her child (Grace Elizabeth) while stranded in her car in the Atlanta area.
An article from AL.com put it perfectly with '5 things we've learned from the winter storm that shut us down' , Number 1. being 'Human compassion is alive and well'. That is the purpose of the Montgomery Area Food Bank--we believe in the power of human compassion. So rarely do we find that we can get past our anxieties and focus on the "bigger picture". And too often we forget that those around us, not just the homeless and destitute, but our neighbors, our community, need a helping hand. We forget that the definition of "working poor" has at least one employed adult in their home and they simply cannot bridge the gap between their expenses and their necessities.
Of the more than 300,000 people that the MAFB and their affiliate organizations serve, most are low-income workers and their families. These people live at or below 130% of the poverty line and face numerous adversities while trying to provide for their families.
It takes a disaster to focus in on the problem and bring it to the forefront, and for a short while, we all band together and reach out to those in our community.
Gandhi said it best "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others", and I think that's something we can all agree with.
For more information on the Montgomery Area Food Bank and how we reach those in need across 35 counties in Alabama- Find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. Stroll through our website to find out more information about Volunteerism and 'Stories of Hope', or simply give us a call.