When I got to Lake Charles with an RV filled with books and toys, I started to have doubts, especially after I crossed the IH-10 bridge overlooking the entire town and saw all the blue tarp on the rooftops.
The devastation was apparent and the true gravity of the situation was right before my eyes.
The people in this town had lost everything they owned.
Windows were blown out, rooftops were in the middle of the street, cars had been overturned
It looked like a bomb had gone off in the city.
I turned to my husband Shawn who was driving our Camping World Thor Motor Coach to the Calcasieu Parish Public Library to pass out toys and books to children who survived to hurricanes and said “Honey we need to go back home.”
“Why would you say something like that?” He demanded to know.
“Because this is ridiculous. These folks have lost their homes, their jobs, their cars, everything they own. And I’m coming to help with a coach filled with books and kid toys. They’re going to cuss me.”
“No they won’t,” my husband tried to reassure me, “besides, this is what God placed on your heart: to give away books and toys to kids. You’ve got 1,500 books and 500 plushies. We have to give them to somebody, we can’t take them back to Minnesota.”
“You’re right,” I chuckled, “we ain’t got but four kids, that’s a lot of books to divide between them.”
The laughter was infectious but nervous. I could tell he was thinking what I was thinking: that these people needed more than trinkets for the kids, they needed real help.
But we kept going, unsure of how we’d be received when we arrived.
We exited the highway and made our way through the town to the library
We were surprised and amazed at what we saw
Dozens of cars had been lined up for hours idling with children inside them waiting for our arrival.
They were giddy, like they were about to meet Santa at the mall
The children were clapping and happy while parents cried and expressed their gratitude
“This is the first time,” one woman told me, “that my child has had anything to look forward to in months. When we saw your post on Facebook, we knew we couldn’t miss it.”
We couldn’t unload the books and toys fast enough
Police had to be called in order to direct traffic
Teachers walked up to ask for cases of books for their students who couldn’t be there because they’d been dislocated after the storms.
I prayed with folks, gave one woman the shirt off my back, and blessed babies with my autism book.
In less than three hours we gave away 1,500 books and toys.
I’m glad I didn’t turn around or go back
I’m glad I listened to God and my husband’s wise counsel
Every little bit helps and even something as small as a children’s autism book can brighten someone’s day.