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When Moms Repair What Mother Nature Broke

It all started as a very simple, yet big-hearted plan: our contributor, Misty, was going to drive down to her hometown in Louisiana and help those who had lost their homes to the devastating floods that hit the area. The church she attended when she lived there, Fellowship Church, had become a distribution center for donations that were sent to the area, so she had a great way to connect and find out what items the families in the area needed most. It became clear that clothing items were plentiful, but what the families truly needed were baby supplies: diapers, wipes, and formula.

Misty turned to the other contributors and owner here at Memphis Moms Blog, and asked that they consider donating some of the much-needed baby items. She and her husband hoped to bring items down with them, and could rent a small trailer if necessary, although it wasn't predicted to be.

That's when things started to come together, and the heart of our writers began to show.

"Why don't we put a call out on the Blog for donations?"

"I bet we have moms in the area with extra diapers!"

"I can meet people in the Target parking lot to pick up donations from them if they want!"

So it was decided. We threw together a quick Plan of Action for collecting donations from any moms who may decide they want to bring them. Surely we could fill the back of Misty's vehicle now! It would only take a few kind souls to help us!

A call was put out on our blog, and we sat back and grinned. All of us felt like, though small, we were going to be able to make an impact. We all know the feeling of running out of diapers--none of us had ever felt the heartbreak of not only running out of diapers, but also suddenly being homeless along with all of our neighbors, and not having a place to even purchase our basic needs. If we could help just one mom not worry for even one minute, our efforts would be worth it.

Before we knew it, word was spreading. Fast. We were contacted by WREG News Channel 3, who wanted to do a story about our donation drive.

There may or may not have been some excited squealing and jumping.

We realized that with media coverage, we may end up receiving more donations than we'd prepared for. We reached out to several moving companies in hopes of getting a truck donated so that Misty and her husband wouldn't have to try and navigate their way to Louisiana with a very large trailer, while their three daughters were also in tow. At first, all the moving companies we contacted jumped at the idea! But once details started to be planned, they fizzled out.

After a desperate plea on our Facebook page, Big League Movers stepped in. And boy, did they ever save the day! Let's just say if any of the Memphis Moms Blog team needs help moving, we all know who we're going to call. The folks at Big League were amazing. They took care of all the worry, answered all of our neurotic questions, and handled everything with professionalism and compassion.

The next thing we knew, Fox 13 was calling. Another news story was done about our donation drive.

And that was it. Our hearts were full. There wasn't a dry eye on our team. We knew that this donation drive had grown larger than we ever anticipated, and it was all due to the love in our community.

We all know the awful things you read and hear about the city of Memphis. There is a racial, a political, and even a gender divide in our community. The tension is palpable at times, and it's easy to get caught up in the negativity. Finger pointing, arguing, and stereotyping quickly turn to violence when passion takes over. Every single day, an entire hour of our local news is dedicated to the horrific stories of life lost and hearts broken. It's overwhelming. The heartache and helplessness crosses all neighborhood lines; the fear and sadness does not care about socioeconomic status or personal history.

But we rose above when we saw our neighbors to the south suffering.

Just as the feelings of injustice and anger don't care where you live or what job you have, neither does Mother Nature. Memphis saw how Mother Nature destroyed lives in Louisiana, and we stood up. We put aside all the hurt and malcontent, and we banded together for something bigger and greater.

At donation drop-off sites, we saw people from all walks of life. People driving all different cars (some even walking), people from all different backgrounds and all different ages. People gave what they could, and some even apologized for not giving more, as though giving anything at all wasn't good enough--but it was more than enough. Even the prayers were generous, and they were heard.

Misty made it down to Louisiana with more than she bargained for. We were all wide-eyed and in shock when all the donations came together and were counted. The tears came, because we all knew we'd done something great for the families near Baton Rouge, but we also knew that we managed to highlight the greatness of our incredible community as well.

Say what you want about Memphis. Everyone has something ugly to say. But I can't help but laugh at the ugliness that others claim is here when they haven't seen the true beauty of Memphis' heart.

So how much did we collect? Well, we'll tell you...

20,668 diapers
672 canisters of formula
50,008 baby wipes

In addition, we received several brand new infant car seats, pack n plays, $760 in Target and Walmart gift cards, bottles, cloth diapers, diaper rash ointment, and many other items.

Upon arrival in Prairieville, Misty and Wade the Moving Guy were met by several of our sisters from Red Stick Moms Blog to help unload the truck. One of their photography partners, Erin Guedry, was there with her camera, and caught some breathtaking photos of the distribution center and the unloading.

We could not have gotten nearly as many donations without the tireless work of our contributors, who selflessly volunteered their time, brain power, and muscles. Many of our husbands and family members were also out helping, and for that, we are extremely grateful.

Several businesses around town also helped make this drive a success by collecting donations and advertising this initiative:

Big League Movers
Janie Rose Boutique
Dixie Pickers
Splash Pools Desoto
City Auto

We also received an extremely generous donation of hundreds of bottles of insect repellent from Bug Soother, which can be used by the volunteers at the distribution center as well as the families who need supplies.

But most of all, we have the amazing people of Memphis and its surrounding suburbs to thank. Your generosity and compassion are astounding. Our original goal was to take the worry away from one mother for just one minute, and you helped do so much more.

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