Peanut Butter and Jam

Working feverishly with Wendy Morgan here in Austin to create weekly visits by local musicians and storytellers to go into the shelters and entertain the children. We are hoping to start next Monday…Wendy, who used to work for the Austin’s Visitor and Convention Center and then just left her position as Executive Director of the local NARAS chapter, is trying to get the city to provide a weekly p.a. system…She is such a great networker and I think we can make this plan bring a lot of joy to children who are worried, frustrated, bored, scared….I know music (and storytelling) have the ability to heal and bring hope!

My self-appointed job has been contacting the entertainment…so I’ve been sending out emails to friends, storytellers, musicians…Now we’re trying to come up with a name for the group…

I suggested:

Read-a-Long, Sing-A-Long
Peanut Butter and Jam (We’re on a roll! Spreading the love! Sharing music, snacks and stories!)
Austin Children’s Musicians Mission
Hand In Hand
Gimme Shelter: Stories and Songs for the Children of the Storm

Keep us in your good thoughts!!!!

Today my family and I delivered bags and bags of clothes, toys, bottled water, some medical supplies, shampoos….Then we went out and bought peanut butter, more bottled water, crayons and markers. We’re going to make some art kits to hand out to the children with paper, crayons, markers…

When we drove up to deliver the first van full of items, I was blown away. We went to the Salvation Army, and I almost started bawling. There were piles and piles of mattresses, clothes, chairs, lawnmowers (!!??)…People were driving up and backing in to the loading dock and it was so brilliantly orchestrated. I jumped out of our van and hugged a giant volunteer; he said, “Oh, I’m so sweaty!” and I said, “That’s GREAT and thanks for all you are doing! This is amazing! There is so much GOOD!” The sun was shining. The moment felt so HOPE FILLED!!!

You know, there is this movie we have…I can’t think of what it is called at this second…an odd little animated piece about dinosaurs and children
(Walter Cronkite and Jay Leno are guest voice artists)…but, what is the sweetest part of the film is when the main little girls says, towards the end, during a scene where something awful is about to happen, she prays out loud, “Let no bad happen!” It has been a mantra in my heart since we heard it; Lance used to say it all the time, and it would bring me comfort, even when he was joking around.

Let no bad happen. Let no more bad happen.

I also want to comment on LEADERSHIP (again.) Who will be the leaders that rise up out of this disaster? I have to believe someone will start to shine, someone that could run for president…someone with heart and intelligence and the ability to get things done. Someone with courage and

Where were the leaders during the last week? Why weren’t more of them helping? I’ve already ranted on Bush (Jr. ), but what about Hillary Clinton? Why wasn’t she there? I’m glad that Harry Connick went down and helped out…on the SECOND DAY. That is what I’m talking about…
Didn’t anyone want to hop on a plane and go there and HELP????? Are all the leaders of this country so out of touch????? Don’t they WANT to help????

Where are the men like Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”?????????????????????????????? WHERE ARE YOU PEOPLE????

2 Comments on “Peanut Butter and Jam”

  • You and Wendy ARE the people like Jimmy Stewart in “Mr.Smith Goes to Wash.” I wish you would run for president!

    I do believe We Can Be the Change that we want in the world and people like you inspire the rest of us to be better. Instead of buying that new, prettier shower curtain I really want, I am going to buy a case of Peanut Butter & a case of crayons and markers and paper and make art for the heart kits & take them to the Red Cross or Sal. Army.
    in honor of your
    >Peanut Butter and Jam (We’re on a roll! Spreading the love! Sharing music, snacks and stories!)>
    I LOVE that name!

    You have inspired me to do more than just donate our small amount cash. There is always something we can do to be a part of the good.
    Thank you and
    love you,

  • unkietodd


    this is from my friend samera’s LJ:

    I left Newark feeling uneasy about missing three days of class to attend the American Student Dental Association’s annual session, which was coincidentally being held in Houston this year. Immediately upon checking in began a series of meetings, legislative sessions, regional caucuses from 7-7pm; it was a full agenda. The night was concluded with a chapter dinner at Cafe Adobe, at my suggestion (as a native Houstonian). The following night we had a regional (districts 1, 2, and 3) dinner. A cheesey Houston bar was chosen by some committee for the recommended social event each night; the first night db joined me and we stayed for a bit, but after db left, I later escaped with my brother and Kim because we wanted to dance, and dance we did. After the following night’s dinner, the one that I literally squeezed db into, the two of us gave a collective goodbye and decided, after a text message from Karl expressing the need for more volunteers, peanut butter, and bread, to head to the Astrodome. After a brief hello and a kiss on the cheek from Karl, we left our bags of bread and peanut butter with the volunteer station and were put to work immediately in the “baby area”. I had familiarity with the different types of baby formulas (similac, similac advance, enfamil, isomil, isomil with iron, etc.), so I relieved a lady there mixing bottles, distributing gerber, and bagging formula and “pabla” [cajun word for baby cereal/rice/oatmeal I later learned] to the line of mothers who would tell me individually holding back tears that their babies hadn’t eaten in a few days. Keeping the area sanitary was an issue, considering the developing immunity of infants, so we did the best we could with gloves and hand sanitizer. Karl later returned with a few bags of towels he had just bought, which caused a mini frenzy as he and db distributed them in less than two minutes. I didn’t look up to take it all in until around 2am, when db and I went outside for a breath of fresh air and ended up helping an elderly lady find a wheel chair (we helped her up after I saw her fall down the steps that led into the the dome). We pushed her to the medical station, meandering through the outskirts of the dome and then directly through the rows of cots set up as makeshift…beds. To those that thanked me, I would reply, “You’d have done the same for us [Houstonians]!” and they agreed. Emotional night, nonetheless, we left exhausted at 3:30, grabbed a quick bite at house of pies, and i was back at the hotel by 4. I woke at 6, showered, meetings, legislative sessions, speakers, regional caucuses, lunch, elections, etc. Through it all, I wanted to head back to the astrodome, so db picked me up after a tour of Houston’s dental school. We were able to bypass the volunteer lines waiting for formal orientation and joined Shonali at the baby area, where she was distributing clothes and shoes and socks. The mothers in line were less anxious because their babies were finally eating. Boxes of pedialyte were brought in for dehydrated toddlers, and there was plenty of bottles and formula as opposed to the previous night when “They’re on the way” was our key phrase. A high school friend, Shawn, appeared at my station (she was searching for a pacifier) and we squeeled at each other before going back to work. To my right were stacks of towels and smiles on faces were slowly returning. The only frenzy was when slippers were brought in for the showers, which is understandable. We left much earlier that night because 18-wheelers filled with supplies suggested that things were as optimistic as they could be, given the situation. The main concern was reunion, and of course the waiting game. I wondered if the NOLA refugees would settle in Houston, but their spirit isn’t Texan; it’s clear that as soon as able, they’re going home. Karl and Ellyn are inspirationally true humanitarians and really took charge. My best wishes for the refugees, I wish I could have helped more and earlier. Going to my mom’s today and dad’s tonight, flying back to my reality tomorrow morning.

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