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October 2017

Hearts and Hands for Northern California Fire Victims

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Here in Northern California, many are suffering devastating losses of life and property due to the Atlas Fires. It has a reported death toll of 21 and damage to over 160,000 acres in Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Napa, Calistoga and surrounding areas. During this time of shock and desolation, now more than ever we need to come together and lift each other up.

Shock, despair and helplessness from this crisis are touching so many in and outside the affected areas. Those of us looking from the outside in (through the news and social media) are vicariously suffering. That is real and we are affected, but let’s not forget those in the middle of it all. They are dealing with grief, fear, hopelessness, and uncertainty about their future. They need our help.

Listed below is a compilation of requests received from numerous sources. My goal, as with so many others, is to get the support directly to those affected with as little bureaucracy, paperwork, or middlemen possible.


 

Mission Solano’s Bridge to Life Center (310 Beck Ave., Fairfield) is currently an emergency shelter for evacuees of local fire areas. They are requesting help with donations of: water, blankets, pillows/cases, mats, paper plates/cups/silverware, napkins, and food donations. If you can assist Mission Solano in providing care for the evacuees, please take your donations to them on Beck Ave. They will provide you a donation receipt for your taxes, if you desire.
• Sacramento Bee article on how to help evacuees of Northern California fires

Brookdale Assisted Living at 6125 Hazel (and Greenback) just brought in about 50 residents from their Santa Rosa facility. The Folsom Location has similar needs, taking in 27 residents. 780 Harrington Drive right behind Burger rehab on E Bidwell.

Deliver items to either: Brookdale Assisted Living facility, 780 Harrington Way, Folsom, CA 95630 or 6125 Hazel Ave, Orangevale, CA 95662

Items needed: (keep in mind patients are elderly)
• Shirts (men and women)
• Undergarments
• Personal hygiene items (toothbrushes, wipes, toothpaste, combs, etc.)
• Socks, men & women
• Incontinence supplies (Depends, etc.)
• Sweaters (cardigans or jackets)

URGENT NEED: The 50 plus horses evacuated from R Ranch are at Vallejo Fairgrounds. Western Ranch needs drivers to transport supplies to them – Water buckets & hay & stable mix needed ASAP.

The Solano County Animal Care is in need of immediate help. If you can help by driving up or have a trailer or donations. Please call (707) 416-7421

Please bring anything you have to donate to Western Ranch & Pet Supply in Vacaville. Items needed are tents, sleeping bags, blankets, tarps, flashlights with batteries, food & water, and anything else needed to camp out with.

Facebook has a page listing needs as well as people willing to help 

These are just a few organizations that are providing direct help. As I learn of more, I’ll be sure to share.  If you learn of any more resources, please let me know as well.  Let’s lend a helping hand.

#AtlasFire #NorthernCAFires #Crisis #ComeTogether #Help #HeartandHands #California #Fire

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What should I say when crisis and tragedy strikes?

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Today our minds and heart are reeling from another senseless tragedy.  As I sit and watch information continue to unfold about the Las Vegas attack, I am stunned, confused, and pained.  As of this date, this is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.  Situations like this as well as natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey can traumatize us and shake our sense of comfort and safety.

How do we handle the emotional impact of tragedies, disasters, and heartbreak?  What do we say to comfort others?  What can we do to find peace within ourselves?

Honestly, it can be hard to determine what to say to others as they grieve.  We may have difficulty managing our emotions because the experience of devastating events touches us all.

It’s important for us to be sensitive, comforting, and encouraging.  We do this by listen without trying to fix “the problem”, allow others to process without interruption, be patient as people express their feelings, and be open to the expression of grief.

Below are some phrases I uses to provide comfort, understanding, and validation without trying to explain or rationalize other’s thoughts and emotion.

  • It’s understandable that you’re upset.
  • What you’re feeling can be a normal and natural reaction to this situation.
  • I am here for you.
  • You are not alone.
  • I don’t know what I can say
  • My heart goes out to you.
  • What can I do so support you?

It’s important to avoid making statements that may appear to be insensitive.

  • I know how you feel.
  • Time heals all wounds.
  • This must have been God’s will.
  • Don’t feel bad.
  • It’s going to be okay.

These statements may be difficult and hurtful because they can minimize or invalidate a person’s lived experience and the reality of their situation.  Why do people say such things?

  • They may lack empathy – The basic definition of empathy is putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes.  Sometimes people lack the ability to do so and they may have a hard time realizing the emotional or physical pain the other person is experiencing.
  • Victim blaming – Sometimes it’s difficult to reconcile why bad things happen to good people.  Some people find it easier to rationalize this by believing that the victim did something to bring this upon themselves.
  • A loss for words – We’ve all struggled with trying to find the right words to say.  As a result, we give canned responses which may give the appearance that we lack compassion and understanding of the other person.  It’s okay to say that you don’t know what to say.

We all have made the mistake of saying something that might have made a difficult situation worse.  Now more than ever we need to sensitive and understanding to each other as these challenging times create vulnerability, heartbreak, and fear.  I encourage you not to only think of the Golden Rule as a benchmark of ethical conduct:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

But consider and practice the Platinum Rule:

Treat others the way they want to be treated.

In order to abide by the Platinum Rule, we must learn to view the world as others see it, to adapt our communication style to their behavioral style, to lead others in a way that motivates them to want to follow, and to embrace our differences while admiring the strengths in others.

Let’s keep this in mind today and everyday.

Peace and Blessings everyone.  I am here for you.

Karen