Voices | Merely feeling someone’s pain can lead to ‘help’ that does harm
by Janie B. Cheaney
Posted 9/05/17, 11:11 am
On May 22, 2011, a multiple-vortex EF5 tornado ripped up Joplin, Mo., leaving 149 corpses and a city of rubble in its wake. The following July, I spent three days there as a volunteer. I wasn’t sure what one woman could do without muscle or power tools, and honestly it didn’t seem like much. The first day I picked up trash on a couple of city streets, but the next two days I confronted piles of used clothing, canned goods, and stuffed toys to pick through. It felt like one of those fairy tales where the heroine has one night to sort a pile of rice and barley into separate bins.