Living in the Bay Area comes with its perks: plenty of access to nature and outdoor activities, beautiful scenery, and a temperate climate – usually. But with increasingly erratic weather, heat spikes, fire season becoming… well a season, and the always looming threat of the next big earthquake, being prepared for anything is quickly becoming the talk of the town.
But even as we think about making sure we have what we need to be ready in case of a disaster, we have to acknowledge that doing so is a luxury that many in our Bay Area community don’t have right now. So many of our neighbors are struggling to access basic needs on a regular basis; having to decide between buying food, paying rent, or making sure their kids have adequate school supplies, buying items for use in a future emergency realistically isn’t the most urgent need.
This doesn’t at all mean the individuals and families experiencing poverty don’t also have a need to be prepared for an emergency.
“I think it’s really important to give back to the community. I’m from New York originally, but I’ve lived out here for a while, and the wildfires have gotten so much worse in the time I’ve lived here. I’ve never experienced a big earthquake but it’s always worth it to be prepared for that, especially for people who don’t have the resources to do that on their own.” – Emily, Berkeley Lights
In honor and observance of the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, United Ways across the country hosted service opportunities; an effort funded, in part, by a grant from AmeriCorps. Locally, United Way Bay Area along with Berkeley Lights, AbbVie, Hanson Bridget LLP, Wells Fargo, and Comerica partnered for a 4-day event, mobilizing volunteers across the Bay to build emergency preparedness kits in an effort to fill this need.
Together, 200 volunteers gathered over 20,000 emergency necessities, building over 2,000 individual kits with blankets, snacks, and other first aid and survival essentials, to be distributed to those in need.
“I think it is vitally important for all of us to contribute to our communities. Volunteering today gave me a chance to both give back to my community and to socialize with my Hanson Bridgett colleagues. Many members of our community need help and support and it is much better to be proactive and give back than have to react in an emergency.” – John J. Buchanan, Hanson Bridget LLP
“Emergencies can happen at any time, and no one wants to go through an emergency alone. It’s important for our community to help each other be ready for an emergency to ensure we can weather a crisis safely and comfortably. Wells Fargo is fortunate to be in a position where we can use our resources and expertise to strength the resiliency of our communities and our planet with a focus on supporting organizations like United Way Bay Area.” – Denise C. Miles, Wells Fargo
As a country and a people, we learned many things from the tragic events of 9/11, but nothing more worth remembering than our humanity. We are countrymen and we must care for each other, look after each other, and respect each other – we are all we have and when we are in crisis, we are in it all of us together. But when we do hold each other up, when we dig deep and reach for the better in each other, we can rise and come back from anything.
“The United Way Bay Area 9/11 Emergency Kit volunteer event was a great reminder of what we need to do before an emergency. I’m really looking forward to working with them again on future projects.” – T.C. Sisco, Comerica Bank
As one volunteer put it, “It takes a village; the more people we have preparing, the more prepared we will be.”
Learn more about how we help our community in times of crisis or disaster, through our various relief funds.