Call to action: Help me gather warmth for those in need!

betseyjohnson_glovesSometimes out of an annoying few days, something good can be born.

Right now, I was supposed to be writing from Charleston. My belly was supposed to be full of shrimp, grits, and biscuits. Most importantly, I was supposed to be basked in warmth.

Wacky weather happenings are going on right now. Call it polar vortex, call it global warming, or just call it a shitty string of luck, but most of the country is dealing with ice and snow and ridiculous temperatures.

The reason I’m not in South Carolina is because they got an ice storm. Commonplace for us jaded New Yorkers, but a pretty rare occurrence for them. It sent them for such a loop that their airport was even shut down for a while. Ultimately, it was shut down while I was in LaGuardia Airport about to board a flight to that same exact airport. My flight was cancelled. As was the one I was rebooked for 5 hours later.

Ultimately, I wasted a lot of time in the airport yesterday, and am now not in my beloved south. Rather, I’m home in New York. Still, it gave me something of an idea.

Charleston is a small example of the bigger situation. My friends in Atlanta are pretty much at a standstill because of their snow. I have friends in Alabama that had to spend a night in a shelter because of their own weather situation. Right here in NY, it’s been well below 20 degrees for much of the past few weeks. People are suffering.

I’m not suffering. I was inconvenienced by an annoying travel day, but I spent that time whining on Twitter and drinking espresso. But it gave me some valuable time to think  — there’s lots of people — people everywhere — who were woefully unprepared. People in states that never get snow and ice. People right here in the northeast that are sick or elderly and the frigid temps are just dangerous for them. People who are homeless and can easily become gravely ill from sustained time periods in these temperatures.

I know that small clusters of people can make a difference. Following Hurricane Sandy, I coordinated a stoop sale of my beauty products and raised thousands in a single day to donate to the Red Cross. I want to do something like that again.

Here’s my call to action: Please donate what you can to help people stay warm. I’m looking for wool socks, gloves, scarves, even blankets. Hand lotion for those cracked hands, lip ointment for those weathered lips. You can help a homeless person avoid frostbite and hypothermia, colds, flu and bronchitis and worse. I’ll be taking all I can to the local Park Slope Women’s Shelter — both what I have, and what has been given to me. You can feel free to be part of my collection – or you can donate to a shelter in your area, wherever your area is. If you want to join in on my personal effort in the Brooklyn area, you can email me or send me a tweet at the contact links at right. There’s a lot of people who try to “brave it” and stay outdoors, and then when the weather tips, they find themselves in shelters. Those shelters are now overcrowded, undersupplied, and looking for all the help they can get. Back during Hurricane Sandy, even gestures like bringing coffee or bagels went a huge way for people.

Another important note: It’s a little known fact that cold and inclement weather leads to massive shortages in blood donations. People simply are less inclined to go when it’s not fun to be there. So please, please, donate blood. It wasn’t that long ago that my life was saved by blood transfusions – and it was in the winter. Emergencies happen all the time. Make a point of donating blood, wherever you are, as often as you can.

And that brings me back to what I was saying at the beginning. Sure, I was feeling sorry for myself with my travel annoyances this week — but now I’m kind of glad they happened. Maybe without them I’d have not realized I should be doing something to help instead of sitting at home whining. Maybe in some way I can make a tiny difference – and I hope some of you may want to join me!

Have a great day, and stay warm out there!

1 Comment

  1. Name *Nancy Reid

    You have a good heart, Aly and a good mind full of wonderful helpful ideas. Let’s add advocating for good mental health care to get some of the homeless folks functioning well enough to get off the streets.

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