The United States is celebrating Labor Day today. Labor Day "is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."
"Well-being of our country." This portion of the statement is especially poignant as the people of eastern Texas suffer the destructive force of Hurricane Harvey. Harvey poured the most rain in the 48 contiguous states and second most to all of the United States, only second to 1950's Hurricane Hiki in Hawaii. Both brought rains of more that 51 inches. 51 confirmed deaths have been attributed to Harvey, and the economic losses are estimated between $70 - $190 billion.
As we've seen with Hurricane Katrina, it will take years to clean up and rebuild. According to Newsweek, about half of New Orleans remains in ruins 10 years after the hurricane. It is estimated that Texas will have a similar experience.
Many people from across the country are volunteering to assist with relief efforts in Texas, whether by traveling to Texas and working directly or by working locally to raise funds, build care packages, or arrange shipments of food and supplies. There are many ways to assist in these efforts. NPR has a nice listing of organizations that are helping with relief efforts. You can donate money, time, or skills.
Some folks want to help out but are looking to improve their local communities. There are many organizations that need assistance in every area of the country. Food banks, hospitals, volunteer fire companies, schools and libraries, homeless shelters, and so on. There is no shortage of ways to contribute time, skills, and money.
As you celebrate this Labor Day, think of what you would like to see improved in your world, whether locally, nationally, or globally. Volunteer. Ask your friends to join you. You get to spend time together while helping others.
I'll leave you with simple but inspiring words from Jerry Springer: take care of yourself and each other.