, , , , , , , , , ,

We’re donating our entire tax refund to help Oklahoma recover.

California beach in winter. (Kathleen Kenna photo)

I’m so grateful to live in the United States. (Kathleen Kenna photo)

Before anyone gets over-excited about that, our income last year was so limited that the rebate from the Oregon government was all of $5.  When the cheque arrived yesterday, we had two reactions.

First reaction:  Wow! A whole cafe latte!

Second:  Who can we help?

Oklahoma, of course.

We know what it’s like to lose (almost) everything.  We also know what it’s like to be lifted up by strangers, by family, and by far-flung friends.

So, Oklahoma, we want to help in some small way.  We’re adding another $45 to send a donation today through one organization we trust to help Americans in disasters like this: The American Red Cross.

We’ve seen Red Cross volunteers on the ground after hurricanes, floods, wildfires and tornadoes, all over the United States.  We’ve met its trauma counselors, and many others who help Americans whose lives have been crushed by disaster.

Those volunteers offer Oklahoma something money cannot buy.  They offer support when survivors are still in shock.

They bring water, food, clothes and warm blankets to people who have lost everything; they offer shelter and care.  More critically, they offer comfort.

Red Cross volunteers know how to listen, when survivors are mourning all that they have lost.

They offer hope.

Red Cross volunteers from Oregon are in Oklahoma today, doing whatever is needed.  We can’t travel to Oklahoma to clear debris or rebuild homes, but we can show that, in this, the richest country on earth, those who have can share with others who don’t.

Sending a tiny contribution is the least we can do to help hurting Americans.

The Salvation Army, United Way, and many other non-profits are helping in Oklahoma, so please consider donating today.  NBC News provides a short list of groups accepting donations.

Feed the Children was one of the first on the ground, helping nourish tornado survivors.  They’ll stay as long as it takes — some Feed the Children workers lost their homes too.

Giving on Sunday is a regular feature of living in gratitude.