West, Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion: How To Help

I know: this is a bad week. 

Last night I kept thinking, "I can't believe it's only Wednesday." This has been a disheartening week. In four days, we've had to publish two posts on BAD about how to help victims of horrific tragedies. Like you, like all of us, I want to sneak back into bed and stay there until the news gets just a little less bleak. 

At 9:30 last night, a fertilizer plant in West, Texas exploded, leveling over five neighborhood blocks. There were two explosions, about twenty minutes apart, which means first responder firefighters are among the victims, who are many. Hundreds of people have been hospitalized; a rough estimate of fatalities puts the number at somewhere between five and fifteen, but no one really knows yet. Over sixty homes have been damaged or destroyed, and there has been looting. People are missing. Firefighters are missing. 

Don't sneak back into bed. Do something useful, however small, and it won't only help those affected in some little way, but it might also make you feel better, like you're fighting back against this devastating week. Don't just rail on Twitter - fight back with something tangible. 

Those who live in Texas or Massachusetts: donate blood any time over the next few weeks. These catastrophes will create a great need state-wide, as blood bank resources are currently being funneled to the sites of the explosions. I live in Houston, 200 miles from West, but I'm still going to donate blood tomorrow, and again as soon as they'll let me. 

You can also donate funds to the Red Cross Disaster Relief, which will go directly toward assistance in those areas that need it most. 

In West, the Aggieland Outfitters are collecting supplies (clothes, food, water, toiletries, toys, etc) for those displaced from their homes by the plant explosion. You can send them a check to the following address, and 100% of your donation will go toward these supplies. 

Point West Bank
PO Box 279
West, TX 76691

If you live near West, here's a list of other businesses that are accepting donations for the victims. 

Here's Devin's blog about how to help the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. 

And not for nothing, but be nice to people this week. Rise above petty grievances on the web or in traffic. Spend time with the people you love. Smile at a stranger who's probably having as bad a week as you are. And try to keep in mind that most of us aren't having nearly as bad a week as we could. Most of us are lucky - we haven't lost our homes or our lives or our friends or family. Give a little of that luck to someone who needs it this week. 

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