A friend and I were talking this past week about the devastating floods in West Virginia and how we wished we could do more to help. I found myself saying, “If only I had the money I would…” I’m sure you’ve said that before too, thinking you couldn’t make a difference because you couldn’t afford it. Service organizations and relief groups from around the country are pouring into the affected area to help clean the destruction, provide food and water, offer temporary shelter and eventually rebuild communities that were literally swept away by water. The organization I’m part of, Rotary International, has thousands of volunteers in the area bringing food, water, medical supplies and manual labor to help. Locally in Hendersonville, NC, the Four Seasons Rotary Club is collecting money to send into the area to help with the relief efforts, and even making a matching donation with a gift from our charitable foundation.
As you have probably done too, my friend and I were lamenting that we can’t do more to help the people in West Virginia. We have jobs, family, commitments, bills of our own, and we simply can’t pick up and go to the devastation to help onsite. I have friends who are passionate about disaster relief and are always among the first to volunteer to leave the comforts of their home to help others. I admire those people. I wish I was one of those people. But I was reminded of a quote by Robert Browning – “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp.” I may not be able to physically be in West Virginia offering aid, but I can make a difference in other ways – collecting food, water, monetary donations – all of which will go a long way in impacting the lives of people I will never meet.
Shouldn’t that be our goal every day? If we only touch the lives of those we can physically grasp – in our family, circle of friends, business network or even our own community – we’re missing an amazing opportunity. In today’s world of social media, technology and information, there’s no excuse for not reaching beyond our grasp.
When I posted on social media earlier this week that I wanted to interview people who had reached beyond their grasp and volunteered for relief efforts after disasters, I was amazed at the depth and breadth of the responses I received. Young and old. Singles and families. Professionals and students. Skilled and non-skilled. But they had one thing in common – the desire to help and reach beyond their grasp. I look forward to sharing their stories with you in the future.
We all have talents to share and stories to tell. We shouldn’t feel guilty about our limitations. Instead, we should make a conscience effort every single day to reach beyond our grasp and make a difference.
**If you’d like to help with the relief efforts in West Virginia, tax-deductible contributions can be sent to: Lewisburg Rotary Foundation (c/o District Governor John Powell), 2526 Spring Street, South Charleston, WV 25303-2501. Please designate the check for Flood Relief.