It’s been a rough spring. Tornadoes. Flooding. More tornadoes. Our friends in the non-profit world who respond to disasters have their hands full.
I’ve spent much of this week in Joplin, arriving there at about noon on Monday with cooking teams from several nearby Tyson locations. There’s little hyperbole in the media reports. It’s as much concentrated destruction as I’ve seen.
Events like these stretch every element of life to their extreme: Sadness and despair; hope and triumph; humankind’s generosity and its greed. Police have to expand patrols to prevent looting, while hundreds put themselves in harm’s way in heroic efforts to pull survivors from the rubble.
Most of us see our neighbors affected like this and we have a tremendous need to reach out and assist. I’m very fortunate to work for a company that pays me to reach out and assist. I’m also extremely fortunate to work around thousands of fellow Tyson team members who are quite ready to suspend their work and their personal lives and go help those who have been affected.
After recent devastating tornadoes in western Iowa, Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Kansas, and the most recent one in Joplin, Tyson team members went to work, cooking food, collecting money and personal items, and providing assistance where necessary. Teams from eighteen Tyson locations from around the south dispersed through north Alabama. Our team from Vicksburg, Mississippi, who’d been to Alabama, was called on to assist with flooding when they arrived home.
This week, six teams showed up in Noel by the end of the day on Monday. Wednesday morning, the team from Clarksville, Arkansas went home to assist with relief in their own community after tornadoes struck. That same afternoon, the team from Sedalia, Missouri was called home after a tornado in their community.
Through all of this, hundreds of Tyson folks served tens of thousands of meals to people who are always gracious and appreciative, even in the face of the trials they’re going through. Keep all of those affected in your thoughts and prayers.