I am overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of Minnesotans. When I announced that I’d be pulling all my books out of the warehouse to donate to children who lost everything in Hurricane Laura, Minnesotans showed up and showed out. Fellow authors from Beavers Pond Press pitched in donating cases of their books. And when Manhattan Toy Company realized what we were doing, they brought me 500 plushies to give away to the kids. When I saw all the love Minnesotans were sending down to Lake Charles, I created the hashtag #MNLovesLakeCharles. When my friends from Image 360 in Woodbury saw the hashtag trending, they created a super cool graphic for me and made a banner to put on the RV. Big Frog T-shirt company in Woodbury got wind of it and created some amazing t-shirts with #MNLovesLakeCharles for me to give away while I’m in Louisiana helping out. This isn’t just a moment, this is a movement to spread love and laughter to the people who are hurting in Southwest Louisiana. They’ve been through so many storms, first Laura, then Delta came ashore. They are battered and weary, but I know going down there with toys and books will brighten their day. I heard Bishop TD Jakes say it only takes ONE person to start a movement. I’m blessed that God picked me to lead this band of generous Minnesotans to help children that they will never know or ever see. These books are going to be a blessing to so many children.
Archives for October 2020
I couldn’t sleep so I went on Twitter to see what the world was talking about. Of course #45’s COVID diagnosis dominated the headlines and I saw stories about the election and job cuts at a local hospital. But as I kept scrolling, I saw a post from my friend Jackie Simien who used to live in Lake Charles, the town that was ripped apart when Hurricane Laura came ashore last month. Five of my most beloved family members died in the storm. With home-schooling and working from home, I forgot the plans I had to visit the town where my father was born and where so many of my friends and kin folks still live, until I saw the photos on Jackie’s timeline. Devastation was everywhere. Homes are destroyed. Trees are toppled. Businesses are shuttered. It looks like a bomb went off and nobody has been back to clean it up. I couldn’t stop crying. The folks in Lake Charles need more than my thoughts and prayers. They need my help. I remember hearing Bishop Jakes say all it takes is ONE! One person to make an impact. I’m praying that God uses me to be THE ONE to help with the recovery process. A few weeks back I had the grand idea to take all the available copies I had of my new autism children’s book to hand out to kids who lost everything in the storm. I’m putting that plan to action today to make it a reality. I’m going to load up that new Thor Motor Coach my family won from Marcus Lemonis at Camping World with copies of Cameron Goes To School and drive it down to Lake Charles to give away to the children. While parents are worried about how they are going to get the tree off their roof, they ain’t got time to worry about what their kids are reading. I heard libraries were hit hard too and some of them are still closed. I’m giving them copies too so they can begin restocking the shelves when they open up. I ain’t got the money like Tyler Perry to get down there and fix nobody’s house and I don’t own a bulldozer to clear the streets. All I got is a heart for God, giving and these books, and I plan to use all three to make a difference.