Once again I am blown away ....
A few weeks ago I casually mentioned to someone that electric heaters are needed on the Reservation. Out there they heat with propane and when the propane runs out, if they do not have money to buy more, which often they do not, they go without heat. In South Dakota it can get cold. Really cold - well below zero with wind chills that are even colder than that. And some of the houses have broken windows, or even no windows at all. Every year people, usually the old people, freeze to death. An electric heater could prevent this.
I suppose I've been reluctant to mention electric heaters because I worry about the fire hazard they can be. The fire department on the Rez is a pickup truck with a tank of water and two guys who come from 25 miles away. Homes are not insured, so if one catches fire, no one will get there in time to save it and the people living there lose everything. This tragedy is made worse by the fact that it is not uncommon for several families to live in one house.
Still ... when the choice is between fire or freezing ...
That's the curse of poverty. Until a better solution can be found, an electric heater can save some lives.
A week after I mentioned this to my friend, I noticed an announcement in our announcement sheet at church about the need for heaters. I did not put it in the announcement sheet and do not know who did, but I am grateful.
Last week an elderly gentleman, a WWII vet, walked over to me with his cane and handed me $20 to buy a heater.
Then yesterday at church a couple told me that they had been to a garage sale and bought 2 heaters.
Today the same lady called me and was SO excited because she had just purchased 8 heaters for $85. She was thrilled!
And I am again touched by the willingness of people to give and help.
The last time I mentioned the need for winter hats for people on the Reservation as well as homeless people in our own community, I was given 160 of them the next Sunday. Half went into a box that was shipped to the Reservation and half are upstairs waiting for winter so I can give them to the homeless.
It amazes me the people who are out there hunting for bargains, haggling with shop owners, and having the time of their life while helping others.
It's not always like this. Sometimes the need is so great and the resources seem so little. But there are good people in the world who are willing to spend their time and money for the sake of others. I wish everyone could hear the excitement and joy in the voice of the lady I just talked to. I wish more people would realize what a blast it is to give! To borrow Bono's words, "It's not a burden, it's an adventure!"