For nearly all of my life, I've lived along great bodies of water: Lake Michigan as a child, the rest of my adult life along the Great Mississippi River and its tributaries. We have logged hundreds of miles both walking and (me) running along the trails of the Meramec River. It is by far one of the most beautiful rivers in Missouri and home to many parks I hold dear, visiting one nearly every weekend with our dogs in tow.
The many parks and trails surrounding the river are a testament to its glory.
However right now, there is not a trail in sight. And there won't be for months to come.
The Meramec River is causing historical flooding in my community.
Rivers are a way of life for us in the Midwest--they are both beautiful and devastating all in one. The Meramec River feeds directly into the Mississippi River. With the latest rounds of rain (nearly twelve inches in three days) the Mississippi is no longer able to do her part to help carry the Meramec's excess away. As a result hundreds of families are being displaced by this unprecedented storm's fallout. It is beyond comprehension.
On the front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this morning is a heartbreaking yet telling photo of two women carrying belongings from their home as the water behind them covers the street. It broke my heart. I feel helpless and searched frantically this morning for ways to offer assistance in this emergency so that a donation would go to my community and directly support the effort to help the displaced families in our neighborhood.
Here are ways you can help:
The Red Cross of Greater St. Louis is on site offering support, food and shelter assistance.
The Humane Society of Missouri is offering shelter for animals for owners unable to take their pets with them.
We watched the evening news all night in disbelief as our community was swallowed by the quickly rising waters.
The encroaching water is only the first part of the disaster, the second part of the disaster will occur after the water recedes and people's lives are forever changed--some not having a home to return to, only left with the belongings they could carry with them in the short window they had to evacuate.