Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Meet Michelle

It's been a little over two years ago, January 2014.  The snowstorm in Georgia was a record  breaker and local residents in the Atlanta area will long wish it a record that won't be broken.  Weather reporters called it the most paralyzing storm in over a half-century.

Utility companies struggled to repair electrical lines, snow plows could only hope to keep a few of the roads open, emergency vehicles became just as stranded in the snow as privately owned cars.  All travel was discouraged and those who chanced getting from point A to point B were only putting themselves and others in danger.  Stories would be told for years about heroic rescues and Good Samaritan actions to help those in danger.  But there was one story, a true story, of one woman who went beyond the extra mile to help everyone she could.

Her name is Michelle Sollicito.  Like others, she was stranded at home, but for the time being, she had electrical power. Her job as tech consultant brought an idea to her thoughts. She immediately got on social media and started a Facebook page that would link those who were stranded and needed help, to emergency medical workers, transportation assistance, and even those who could help with fuel, food, shelter and anything else that would relieve a need.

The Facebook page was called SnowedOutAtlanta, and within 24 hours had grown to over 50,000 members.  People logged in and began helping their fellow citizens. Strangers were helping strangers. There was even one story that came to SnowedOutAlanta, of a pregnant homeless woman who was directed to a shelter for safety and medical attention.  A man with a heart condition was assisted in getting to the hospital. One woman posted on the page that she was making hot cocoa for all the people who could get to her house. All of these actions of helping the entire city, evolved in the heart and mind of Michelle Sollicito, spreading like a blanket to cover a city as large as Alanta.

One local newspaper stated Michelle had done more to help than any of the official operations going on to bring help to a community. Her response to the published article praising her work was simple and to the point. "The biggest thing I learned is that everyone can do something to help people in crisis."

My purpose in repeating this story for you is also simple and to the point.  We are surrounded by people who are possibly facing a crisis of their own. Their problems and difficulties may seem too large to handle or maybe seem bigger than any solution we can dream.  We need to be reminded of Michelle's words, "everyone can do something to help people in crisis."

If we, the people of God, love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  And if we love others as we love ourselves, then we can do something to help people in crisis.  Today......look at the crisis someone is having and be a friend.  Give a comforting word.  Show someone your concern.  Be their Michelle.

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