Thursday, May 29, 2014

After the Heroics, Why Do We Turn On Each Other?

All the adrenalin is used up, people are tired, stressed and frustrated. And unfortunately, folks are now acting in ways that are not only hurtful to each other but also to relief efforts in our community.

Rumors, half-truths and an unwillingness to learn the facts are all being used to damage relief efforts through the Winston Strong Relief Fund.

That may not be the intent of your actions but that is the effect.

Restoring our community is not going to happen overnight. It is a “long term” effort and will take funds and planning for the long term. Encouraging people and businesses to not contribute to Winston Strong because you don’t understand the need or you don’t agree with the process is shameful - and it’s petty.

Yes, people have immediate needs – but there are a multitude of sources of assistance for those needs. There should be no one in our community doing without basic necessities right now. If you have a need for food, clothing, shelter or medical care- all you have to do is ask. It may not be easy, pleasant or always timely but there is assistance available.

There are no sources for long term financial assistance except Winston Strong. One day in the not too distant future, our people are going to need assistance in other ways – ways that are more expensive and not nearly as attention-getting or easy to fulfill.

The same folk who are now complaining because they can’t get a couple of hundred dollars today will be the same ones complaining a year from now because there is no assistance (funds) available to help them pay a utility deposit or pay a loan fee to help get them back into a permanent home.

If you don’t wish to donate to Winston Strong – that’s your choice. If you want to make contributions directly to individuals or better yet through your church for short term or day to day needs - that’s an honorable thing to do.

But don’t discourage others from contributing to a worthy cause out of pettiness. Have the decency to learn about Winston Strong before trashing it and spreading untruths.

Here is what is true:
  • There are not 9 fat cats smoking cigars in a boardroom scheming to give that money to their buddies.
  • None of these funds are going to the city, county, schools or parks to “beautify the community”
  • FEMA does not control these funds – FEMA recognizes the need for long term recovery funds due to experiences with previous disasters as other sources of assistance dry up. FEMA encouraged the creation of the fund.
  • Because our leaders had the foresight to use an existing 501c3 non-profit – funds were able to be accepted and tax deductible almost immediately. This is usually not the case as it often takes months to set up a 501c3.
If you have questions about the fund, how it’s organized and how it will be used, make an effort to learn more about it. Don’t spread rumors or half-truths on social media or at the coffee shop. In the long run, all you are accomplishing is harming our community, discouraging people to contribute time and money to any relief funds and hurting those in need who could be helped by this program. We are better than that- as we have shown over the last month.

W. McCully