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After the storms, don’t lose spirit of helping others

Keep reaching out to victims

Published: Monday, Dec. 2, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

The stories of people reaching out and doing wonderful things to benefit the tornado victims could fill this newspaper for a solid week.

It makes us wonder.

Why does it take a tornado to bring out this compassion?

We’re reminded of the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” build that was done in Pekin several years ago. The ABC-TV show did not provide any of the materials and very little of the labor. Those were donated, mostly by local folks. Most of what the TV show did was focus our attention on the family’s needs. Local money and hands did the rest.

The wish to help and the ability to help is out there. And that’s a good thing, because tornado aftermath is too much for any one family – or any one neighborhood – to cope with alone.

But just a reminder: There are people coping with their own private, more invisible disasters all the time. We have people who are homeless, hungry and suffering every day – most of them were hurt not by tornadoes but by being laid off, or from being seriously ill, or for any number of other reasons.

Just imagine if we all decided to attack the chronic problems in our community with as much zeal as we want to help the tornado victims.

We don’t haveto choose. We can do both.

We can pull out all the stops and help people who are victims of a natural disaster. Our humanity calls for us to do this.

We can also keep the momentum going and address some of the other needs of our fellow man.

That good feeling you got when you handed over a donation? You don’t have to wait for a disaster to strike to hand over another. There are many charities running in the community – the United Way and Salvation Army are just two – that have needs day in and day out, natural disaster or no natural disaster.

Keep reaching out and helping the tornado victims. But don’t forget that there are other unmet needs all around us all the time. Keep up the volunteer spirit.

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