There was a flood once in the County next to the one I live in. As the water started coming up, we knew about it right away. I called some friends who owned businesses or had good jobs and within an hour had some of them at my office with cash. We took a couple of pickup trucks and went to the local Wal-Mart and K-Mart stores. We explained we were on our way to that County and asked if they would give us a discount on a load of drinking water and bleach. They agreed immediately and we loaded both vehicles down with as much as they would safely carry.
We pulled into the first affected town just as the waters were receding, people were still standing in their front yards or on their front porches with that hollow, dazed, deer in the headlights look. Mud, debris and water was still everywhere, the houses were just dripping wet and the smell was quite unique. It was really sad. We started stopping at every house and checking to see if anyone was hurt and just made contact with people. We listened to their story, even though it was the same at every house, we told them we understood their pain, that we cared about them and gave them some drinking water and bleach. Then we went to the next house. They didn't ask whop we were or where we were from, most of them just cried.
People were devastated and we just went straight to their front porches. They were still in shock many of them, words really can't describe it.
We didn't have the benefit of a lot of organization or planning, we just knew there were gonna be some hurting people there so we grabbed what we could and went. When we were out of water and bleach, we went home, it took a few hours. There wasn't anything else we could do at the moment. It was an experience I will never forget.
We did it anonymously and we didn't ask for anyone's permission. If we had, the experience would have been much different I think. My hometown flooded in 2001, I lost my home and every thing that I owned just about. (You know its bad when you look up and see a Red Cross truck in your driveway and you feel a huge sense of relief, an experience you never forget) But the pillage that went on in the aftermath was disgusting. The people that weren't affected, from neighborhoods minimally hit or totally outside the flood zone, came into our town and claimed the supplies and help that the disaster relief agencies brought in. Most of us that were flooded were at our houses trying to save them. The local high school where the Red Cross was set up was over run by people who were just getting what they cold get, and make no mistake, the handouts were substantial. A family could get $1,800.00 worth of vouchers for clothing, mattresses, food, etc. from the Red Cross on the spot, and with no real verification of being affected. DHHS was issuing families hundreds of dollars worth of food stamps no questions asked, clinics were there giving away medications and free medical care, and the list goes on and on. those places were over run with people who didn't need anything.
That's why when it happened again in the county next to me, we went to the houses right away. That's a good place to find the people who are really hurting in a disaster. It may be the person who just doesn't have a way out of the area or it may be the guy who is trying to save the frame of a house that didn't have insurance. But that's the place to look.
Anyway, just my two cents worth.