Judy Frank: No Good Deed Goes Uncriticized

Monday, May 2, 2011

You probably heard it about the same time I did.

All those church groups and volunteers trying to help tornado victims have been going about it the wrong way, according to officials in Bradley County .

So much food has been donated that a lot of it is has to be thrown away, they said.

Well gee, that will sure encourage people to get out and help the next time they see somebody hungry, or homeless, or in need of some TLC, won’t it?

But hold on, there’s more.

Social service agencies don’t need any donations except – of course – money, officials went on to say.

Since when?

At Salvation Army headquarters on Inman Street in Cleveland last week, where one heck of a lot of good was being done, that’s not what people were told.

“Bread . . . water . . . food that doesn’t have to be cooked or refrigerated . . . cleaning supplies,” were the stock answers when somebody showed up asking what was needed.

“This goes out as fast as we get it in,” one grateful worker told a man who showed up with a truck holding two pallets of bottled water.

“As soon as we get this unloaded, I’ll go back and get another truckful,” the man replied.

That wasn’t needed?

How many times have we heard public officials lament what they perceive as average citizens’ unwillingness to tackle major issues in their communities instead of asking somebody else – the government, for example – to solve the problems?

Worried about crime on your street, for example? Well, the official response goes, “Start a neighborhood watch. Police can’t be everywhere. They need your help.”

Bothered by the dozens of smelly trucks tearing up the road in front of your house on their way to the ever-expanding landfill encroaching on your neighborhood? Hey, it’s your fault, you put your cans and paper and plastics out in garbage cans instead of hauling them 10 miles or 20 miles or however far it is to the nearest recycling center.

Last week, a lot of people in the Tennessee Valley showed just the kind of initiative officials have been telling them is needed.

Unlike the gawkers who descended on devastated neighborhoods, getting in the way of emergency crews trying to locate and then help the injured, these good Samaritans concentrated on getting food and water and comfort to people they knew needed them.

And now they’re being told they did it all wrong?

Remember 9-11, when the Red Cross broadcast urgent messages pleading for blood donations and people across the nation rushed to respond – only to learn, a month or so later, that all that blood really hadn’t been needed and was just thrown away?

I know people who were so incensed they haven’t given a dime to the Red Cross since that happened.

So yes, Bradley County, coordinate your efforts. Make efficient use of every available resource. Put volunteers where they are most needed.

But before you tell people who went out into devastated neighborhoods and fed hungry men and women and children not to do it again without checking with you first, ask the people who ate that food whether they think that’s good advice.

You could start with the woman one group of volunteers presented with the first food she and her family had seen since heaven knows when – and then apologized because they had run out of plastic silverware by the time they got to her.

“Honey, don’t you apologize,” the woman replied. “I’m so hungry . . . I’ll use my hands.”

Judy Frank


Dr. Livesay Should Step Down From Bryan College Leadership - And Response (8)

I am writing in response to the July 25th article, "Online Petition Seeks Removal of Bryan College President, Board Chair".  As a graduate of Bryan College (1984), I am saddened by the response of Dr. Stephen Livesay and the Board of Trustees regarding the online petition.  The purpose of the petition really has little to do with the school’s “clarification” of its ... (click for more)

A Pox On Both Their Houses

Americans all across this country should be aware of how really dishonest both major political parties are being with their constituents as they try to rally voters to their side of the health care debate.   First of all, on the Republican side, having the defunding of Planned Parenthood in their bill means they are already behind the eight ball as they try to muster the ... (click for more)

Bill Kilbride To Retire As Chamber CEO; To Step Down Dec. 31; Chamber Starts Transition Process

Bill Kilbride, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Chamber, has announced that he is retiring from his position effective  Dec. 31 .   Larry Buie, chairman of the Chamber board of directors, expressed his appreciation for Bill's efforts. He said, “Bill Kilbride has led us through the past three years to a place of excellence in terms of strategic leadership. Among ... (click for more)

Corker Votes For Amendment To Repeal Core Elements Of Obamacare; Alexander Votes Against It

Senator Bob Corker voted for an amendment to repeal the core elements of Obamacare, while allowing for a reasonable transition period for a replacement to be developed and implemented. “As I have said before, I believe the best path forward is for Congress to repeal Obamacare after a reasonable transition period,” said Senator Corker. “This amendment would take us back ... (click for more)

Barons Bounce Back Wednesday Beating Lookouts, 3-1

After dropping game one, 9-4, Tuesday, the Birmingham Barons (13-19) nipped the Chattanooga Lookouts (24-8), 3-1. Fans at Wednesday night's game were treated to a pitcher's duel between two former first-round draft picks -- Chattanooga's Kohl Stewart and Birmingham's Stephen Kopech. Kopech struck out 12 hitters over six innings and the Barons' bullpen did the rest. Kopech ... (click for more)

SEC Annouces Television Schedule For First Three Weeks Of 2017 Season

The SEC Office on Tuesday announced the start times for games on the SEC Network during the first three weeks of the 2017 season.   The SEC Network Saturday schedule opens with three games on September 2 .  The Network will air six games on the second week of the season and five games in Week 3.  The first Conference matchup of the year on the ... (click for more)