Dayton Shows Its Colors
Dayton may be closer to Indianapolis than it is to East Palestine, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t impacted when something horrible happens on the other side of the state. It doesn’t mean Daytonians aren’t ready to step up and help either. So it wasn’t much of a surprise to find a group of Miami Valley volunteers heading off toward the scene of the recent Norfolk Southern train derailment. It wasn’t too surprising to find out they’d left even before the toxic cloud had cleared either.
At the head of the group was a former pastor Dr. John Heading, who’d assembled a team and set off toward East Palestine almost as soon as the bad news hit the airwaves. The goal? To help the town’s residents clean-up their homes, which is about as simple and as neighborly as goals get. Considering most of the homes are set within what was the evacuation area though, it was also essential. Heck, noting the chemicals let loose in the spill, the volunteer’s efforts could very well have been life-saving.
Those efforts will most certainly be life-affirming. In fact, it’s more than fair to say that the impacted residents will be helped simply by the volunteers’ presence. Remember, just last week those residents were told to flee their area. To have a group volunteer to join them now will definitely buoy a few spirits.
It won’t be the first time Heading has helped buoy a few spirits though. After 17 years pastoring at Beavercreek Baptist Church, he went on to launch Buckeye Baptist Builders. Both Beavercreek and Buckeye can best be described as church-building outfits – one from within, the other from without. But Beavercreek primarily serves the same-named Dayton suburb, while Buckeye’s congregation stretches across the entire state. Then again, Buckeye is closely affiliated with the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio (SCBO).
Don’t for a second though think Buckeye being linked to a Baptist organization means its efforts are limited by denomination. And it being a church-building service doesn’t mean its services don’t go above and beyond raising edifices either. In fact, Heading himself is state director of SCBO’s Ohio Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (OSBDR). That means he and BBB go wherever they’re needed and do whatever is necessary.
Clean-up in East Palestine
That’s how Heading found himself cleaning homes in East Palestine.
Why cleaning homes? Well, when Dr. Heading and his crew arrived in East Palestine, they immediately discovered that a clean home was among its residents’ “greatest unmet needs.” Consequently he and his team immediately got to work.
We wanted residents to be able to “go home and feel confident that it is as safe as it can be,” reads Heading’s OSBDR report. “There were several homes cleaned on the first day. With two of the homes, the railroad tracks went right through their backyards.”
“You could stand on the tracks and look just a short distance to the left and see the crash site,” continued Heading.
We need not remind everyone just how dangerous that proximity may have placed the Miami Valley volunteers.
To be fair, Miami Valley wasn’t the only region to send volunteers. Yes, the Gem City area was indeed well-represented among the initial nine-person team, but folks came in from nearly every major city in the state. Well, close to nearly every major city anyway. Yet whatever the geography, the folks of Middletown, Fairborn, Pickerington, Elyria, and Cuyahoga Falls should be just as proud as those in the respective cities of Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland, and Akron. As for Heath (Heathens?), well, since the town lies a good 30 miles east of Columbus we’ll credit its 10,000+ residents along with those from the capital city itself.
The point is, Dayton stepped up for East Palestine, and so did the rest of Ohio. And Heading and the SCBO say more volunteers are on the way.
Dayton Steps Up
If you’re looking to be among them here, then get in touch with Ohio Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. If you’re looking to volunteer down the line, then simply keep an open eye.
“Just pay attention to the news,” Heading told Katie Shatsby and Neydja PetitHomme at Dayton’s WDTN Channel 2, “because there may be other opportunities where volunteers can be involved.”
100+ Women Who Care
The Dayton branch of the 100+ Women Who Care must’ve been paying attention to the news when they recently stepped up to help a local Gem City non-profit. Then again, considering the recipient, the news could’ve just as easily come close to some of the members’ homes.
We speak of the relentless Opioid Crisis, which has come close to – if not in – nearly every home in the country. More specifically though, we speak of how that seemingly unending Crisis impacts the children of opioid addicts.
As you probably suspect, a good chunk of children of addicts wind up without a parent in their lives. That of course leaves the kids’ raising either to the state or to another family member. While it’s naturally in everybody’s best interests to place children with their own kin, family members are often just as overburdened as the state. Heck, even the most eager family member is often hampered by significant financial constraints.
Well, when 100+ WWC discovered Families of Addicts (FOA) was launching a program specifically designed to help willing families alleviate those financial constraints, they decided to lend a hand. In fact, the 100+ WWCD decided to lend the organization $22,500 hands. It wasn’t a loan though; it was a gift. A great good gift. And every cent will give willing family members a chance to keep children within the family.
The Kinship Program
It’s called the Kinship Program. And while the money will indeed go a long way toward helping family members care for the children who’ve been unexpectedly placed in their charge, it will also help raise awareness of an often overlooked aspect of the opioid problem.
We got the news from Clara Faith at Dayton 24/7 Now, which appears to be affiliated with both WKEF and WRGT. Faith got with FOA Executive Director Anita Kitchen, who was clear about the extent of this problem.
“Because these are not licensed foster homes,” said Kitchen, who also serves on the Huber Heights City Council, “there’s no funding system in place in order to support [them].” That leaves that particular family on its own.
When most of the family members happen to grandparents, the burdens can be even greater.
“Sometimes these grandparents are retired, or they are close to retiring, and they don’t have the financial needs to support these children,” said Kitchen. “Worse, it’s oftentimes not just one grandchild or child — it’s multiple children.”
“[That’s why] we’re starting the Kinship Program,” Kitchen said. “We feel by taking away some of that immediate financial stress, the family can focus emotionally on the child.”
The greatest takeaway from Faith’s Dayton 24/7 Now report was the gratitude Kitchen had for the 100+ Women Who Care, as well as the promise behind FOA’s Kinship Program.
“The Kinship Program will benefit both Families of Addicts as well as families of addicts,” said 100+ member Carolyn Dodok, “and that’s not only good for children, it’s good for Dayton. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be of help.”
Dayton Helping Dayton
And Healing Properties couldn’t be more thrilled to share this great news! It’s incredibly heartening to see organizations like 100+ Women Who Care step up and help the likes of Families of Addicts. Then again, the Dayton branch of 100+ WWC has been doing just that since 2007. Over that time, the group has gifted nearly one-and-a-half million dollars to everyone from the St Vincent DePaul Women’s Shelter to Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Community Support Center. In other words, every day, in every way, they make for a better Dayton.
Just as Dr. Heading and Miami Valley volunteers are making for a better Ohio. To see someone immediately enlist folks from every corner of the state in order to respond to a far corner tragedy surely speaks highly for a state’s citizens. But it also speaks highly for the state. And we’re certain that with good folks like OSBDR, 100+ WWC and FOA on hand, the state of Ohio will continue to rise to every occasion – and so will the city of Dayton.