Home > Uncategorized > Ice, Snow and Caring – My Tale Retold

Ice, Snow and Caring – My Tale Retold

We all have a story from the recent snow storm that took Alabama and Georgia by surprise.  This is my tale retold with gratitude:

Ice, Snow and a Caring Community
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YWCA Central Alabama

Ice, Snow and a Caring Community

January 30, 2014

Judge Debra H. Goldstein is a retired U.S. Administrative Law Judge and accomplished author.  She has been an active community volunteer in Birmingham for over 20 years and currently serves on the YWCA Board of Directors.Creating a more caring community is the cornerstone of the YWCA Central Alabama’s vision statement. During this week’s unpredicted snow and ice storm, the YWCA has lived up to its vision.  I know, because I was one of many embraced into the YWCA’s caring community.

For me, a Yankee used to driving on snow, I didn’t think much of the flakes falling as I left a downtown meeting. Two hours later, when my efforts to reach the highway failed because of accidents, clogged roads and an inability to sustain enough traction to get up hills without fishtailing, I decided I needed an alternative plan. I thought about working my way over to a hospital, because it would have power and food, but then I thought about the YWCA. Having been a volunteer and Board member for more than twenty years, I knew I could count on the YW for a warm place to sit with a cup of coffee while I waited for the traffic congestion to ease.

Hours passed and the roads became impassable. I was stuck for the night at the YW, but I wasn’t alone. Executive Senior Staff, child care workers and volunteers sacrificed the window of time they could have gone home to make sure every child in child care was safely picked up and that the heat and other amenities needed by the building’s full-time residents were maintained.  Then there were the extras – displaced downtown Board members, volunteers knowledgeable about the YW and some who saw its lettered sign, like a teacher from Carver High, who came in desperate for shelter from the storm.

In the end, twenty-five of us sat down for a family style spaghetti dinner that we all agreed tasted better than any Italian dinner we ever had eaten. Dinner was followed by laughter, conversation, a movie, and the assignment of beds, couches, sleeping bags, and palettes on pillows. Clean t-shirts, toothpaste and toothbrushes made all of us presentable for breakfast and the beginning of another day of watching the television to know if we could safely leave. Most of us couldn’t, but it didn’t matter. We were part of a caring community.

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The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the YWCA Central Alabama. The intention of this blog is to provide information and perspectives on social justice issues; however, the YWCA makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The YWCA will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this information or for any losses, injuries or damages incurred from the display or use of this information. This policy is subject to change at any time.      

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Grace Topping
    February 5, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    What a great story. Glad to hear you had a welcoming place to spend the night. Store this memory away for a future a mystery.

    I was stunned to see pictures on the news of women sleeping in the aisles of a grocery store.

  2. February 3, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Thank you for sharing your winter experience, Debra. What a heartwarming story!

  3. February 2, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    What a nice experience, the sheltered part of it! Let’s hope the rest of the winter brings gentle snows of half an inch or so at a time.

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