Just two days after explosions at the Boston Marathon put the nation on edge, a West, Texas fertilizer storage and supply facility exploded, devastating the town. CNN.com reports today on the wide gap between donations to Boston and the small Texas town. Cleanup efforts continue in each community, but the scars in West, Texas will remain as this tragedy did more damage to the community than just brick and mortar destruction.
Most of the fatalities in the Texas explosion were first responders. Like most small rural communities, the local fire and rescue teams are peopled by volunteers from the community. These are often the best and bravest in their town and the loss of these folks will leave holes that cannot be easily filled. The town of 2,800 citizens must also rebuild homes, a school and a nursing home, in addition to servicing the immediate and ongoing needs of the injured and displaced.
According to CNN, $26 million has been raised in support of the Boston bombings while donations to rebuilding efforts in West total "well under $1 million". Property losses in West are expected to exceed $100 million.
The head of the McLennan County Salvation Army Dan Ford said, "We have been greatly overshadowed by the Boston tragedy...we need help."
The West, Texas Disaster Relief Efforts Fund has raised around $140,000. Baylor University's West Relief Fund has raised $110,000 and the United Way of Tarrant County, local Saint Vincent dePauls and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation have also added a combined $50,000. But it is not nearly enough for this struggling community.
AT&T has introduced a program that would allow AT&T customers to donate to West, Texas relief from their cell phones. AT&T customers who want to support the Texas Disaster Relief Fund can text TEXAS to 80108 to give $10. The donation will be charged on their monthly AT&T bill. AT&T, in conjunction with the non-profit mGive Foundation established the text-to-donate option for wireless customers who want a simple, easy and convenient way to provide financial support to the West, Texas, victims.
"Texas is a big state, but when tragedy strikes as it did in West last week, not only does our state pull together but Americans come together to assist our communities in need. AT&T is proud to step up and support relief and recovery efforts with a $50,000 donation to the Texas Disaster Relief Fund," said Dave Nichols, president, AT&T Texas. "And, by enabling our customers to text a contribution from their mobile device, we hope more Americans will open their hearts and their wallets to support the people of West."
The citizens of both communities are in our thoughts, but the folks in West, Texas need all the help they can get. If you can help out, I have provided links above -- give generously and remember the good folks of West, Texas in your prayers.
(Click here for the CNN.com article)