As I sit here, I’m finding it difficult to write an editorial about cheese when so many people are facing devastating circumstances from Hurricane Harvey. One of the first things that comes to mind is how we take basic necessities for granted – clean water, medical care, safe places to gather, our homes and food – and how we should never be so complacent that we forget what can be ripped apart in an instant.
Regardless of how self-sufficient we perceive ourselves to be, we are all dependent on each other. The devastation is surreal and for those not directly involved, impossible to imagine. Natural disasters often bring out the best in people as race, religion and political differences are put aside. The charity of spirit being exhibited during Harvey is a keen reminder of strength and humanity.
Places of worship have opened their doors to refugees. Businesses sacrifice profits for generosity and community. Amheuser-Busch stopped beer production and began canning water for distribution. H-E-B brought its mobile kitchens to provide meals. People have donated everything and anything. Volunteers brought their boats and themselves to assist in rescuing the stranded. A local furniture store opened its doors to anyone who needed a place to stay and to use their furniture and mattresses to get comfortable. Animal shelters across the country are taking shelter animals to allow local shelters and rescues to make room for stranded pets and to give their owners a chance to reunite. Wisconsin is sending over 17,000 pounds of cheese to the Houston Food Bank, coordinated by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and donated by 26 companies.
Today, we have a modern movement to return to our roots. More people are supporting local businesses and developing community agriculture. Just the other day, I was informed that next to a business I know well is a farm that reserves the first rows of corn for its employees to help themselves. We need to develop better all-inclusive communities that cherish each of us as individuals, appreciative of our strengths and supportive of our weaknesses. When crises happen, we have seen that it will be a mix of government, private and public business, and individuals who come together that will make the difference and save our humanity.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. Hopefully, the humanitarian acts we have witnessed, the generosity of spirit and the willingness to help others who we do not know will help us all to rise above our differences and unite for the common good.