We're lucky at my house. The worst the tornado left my family was an hour or so of discomfort.
I spent some time in a closet with my 19-month-old, who fed me crackers and enjoyed shadow puppets. My husband and older daughter hunkered down at the JC Penney's in North Hills, where she'd been for a birthday party.
We've steered clear of the neighborhoods that were hit. My six-year-old daughter hasn't seen any of the destruction first hand, other than a few pictures on TV and in the newspaper and a couple of fallen trees.
But this morning, I was reading an email out loud from a parent from her school, encouraging people to donate food to local food banks to help tornado victims. We started talking about everything people had lost - their homes, their clothes, their toys, their food, their treats. And that's where she stopped me: Treats.
Sitting on the counter was her treat bag, a plastic bag that's been full of candy, it seems, since Halloween. It was most recently replenished last week after an egg hunt.
My daughter, thankfully, has no idea what it's like to go without. She's always had plenty of food and clothes and a roof over her head. But she understands not having treats. She's gone days - weeks even - without a piece of candy. (We keep a tight rein on the candy bag). The fact that another kid might not have any treats is something she could definitely understand.
So as I filled up a bag with items from our pantry, she filled a bag with some of her candy. I added my chocolate stash in a show of solidarity. We made a quick trip to Kroger where we picked up more healthy foods. I let my daughter pick it out. We left with apples, bananas and the fixings for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
We took it all over to the Interfaith Food Shuttle in Raleigh where they could use your donations of food, especially food that can be prepared or eaten without electricity.
And there are many other agencies that could use your help too. WRAL is hosting an all-day fundraising event on Wednesday. Click here for details about that. There's an effort started by a Durham mom that I read about on the Mom in Chapel Hill blog. Jennifer offered details on a way to help victims in Cumberland County in her post on Monday.
And there are many other opportunities to lend a hand through churches and other organizations. I encourage all to find a way to help.