If the tone of this week’s blog sounds a little cold, there’s a reason.
My family and I have been living without heat for the past 11 days, and it hasn’t been pretty.
Apparently our furnace motor is broken and needs to be replaced. But like many service parts, that motor is currently back-ordered with no definitive delivery date in sight.
ALAN’s Executive Director Kathy Fulton and I discussed my situation at length during a recent call, and needless to say, she was sympathetic.
But then – because the two of us are certifiable geeks – we quickly began turning my chilly experience into a teachable moment.
First, I mentioned the fact that this is a prime example of what could happen to many more of us as supply chain bottlenecks and service part shortages continue to loom their ugly head. (For more about that, check out this great article by Daniel Stanton, aka “Mr. Supply Chain.” He articulates the challenge way better than we could).
Then she speculated about the various ways such shortages might impact humanitarian supply chains and what kinds of advice we should be dispensing in light of that. (I told you we were geeks.)
But perhaps most important of all, I spoke about the fact that this experience has given me a huge dose of perspective.
You see, for a while there I was really feeling sorry for myself that we were going to have to wait weeks before our house was warm again. (Trust me, it’s really cold.) But then I realized that this is the kind of thing that people who have been hit by hurricanes, tornadoes and disasters like winter storms have to go through all the time.
It really drove home to me why ALAN’s mission to ensure that ‘help and hope arrive sooner,’ is such an important one, because clearly even an extra day or two of not having heat, air conditioning, electricity or running water can feel like an eternity to someone who’s waiting for help.
The silver lining to this story (and don’t almost all ALAN blogs have one?) is that my family and I haven’t been alone during our temporary ice age.
As soon as I posted word about our plight on Facebook, I was flooded with phone calls and messages from friends who were offering everything from dinners and guest rooms to space heaters and blankets, many of which we gratefully accepted.
Each of these offers has truly warmed my heart, if not my body.
In a similar vein, each time a disaster hits, your offers of warehousing, transportation, material handling equipment and monetary donations are a huge light in the darkness for all of us at ALAN – and for so many of the survivors we help.
Will my family get our heat restored soon? I’ll keep you posted. Or, if you’d prefer, just listen for a loud “Woo hoo!” Meanwhile, I’m happy to entertain any and all offers of free trips to Tahiti.
Director of Communications
American Logistics Aid Network