According to my weather app, it is nine degrees with windchill advisories. Our furnace is churning and has been for over an hour, which may mean it needs servicing or that we just need to change the filter. I am under two blankets and drinking a cup of hot coffee and it's cold.
Exactly one year ago I wrote about how frightening it can be to be a young child out in the cold waiting too long for the bus. Today there is a two-hour delay, which I hope will allow for the temperature to go up a bit before kids have to go out. I hope the buses make sure they don't zip through the route too quickly, stranding kids as they did last year.
I will drive my daughter to school. I have that luxury. Many do not. She has a new winter coat this year, warm clothing, a hat and gloves. Many do not. Unless our furnace is truly broken, she will come home to a warm house. She will eat a relatively well-balanced evening meal. And--you get the drill--many will not.
In Oakland Mills our local schools have been collecting winter coats and hats and gloves. Our schools and community together have been collecting food for our hungry neighbors. The Columbia Association Youth and Teen Center is sponsoring a clothing giveaway soon. Does anyone help with heat? I know that the group (formerly known as "Christmas in April") helps people with needed home repairs, which might include better insulation, or patching holes that let in cold air. But what about heating assistance?
I passed a friend's house on the way home and noted that it was almost completely surrounded by vans from their heating company. I smiled because I knew she had finally found someone to come out and fix their furnace. For most of us, the only obstacle we would face in restoring adequate heat is getting the repair people to show up on time, or getting a timely appointment during a cold snap.
There must be groups that help families who are cold, right? Fill me in. This is something I want to know more about. When our neighbors are cold, they need more than kind words.
Hint Number 4 for Friday's Giveaway: truly American/authentic Latin influence.