Why do bad things happen to good people? I've been asking myself that question since I was 15 years old. Over the years, I, like you, I'm sure, have had to ask myself that same question many times. I've read many teachings from a number of disciplines trying to find the answer. I've concluded there is no answer. Rather, good and bad things happen to good and bad people; the randomness of life.
Nonetheless, when I, and I bet you as well, see someone who is so kind hearted face something so difficult and undeserved, I still find myself asking "Why?" Hopefully the next question, and the more important one, we ask is, "What can I do to help that person?"
A Fire Destroys Everything
A dear friend of ours, Jentzen Valenzuela, and his family, recently lost all of their belongings when their home burned in its entirety. Thankfully, and most importantly, all of the family--including their two dogs--were evacuated safely. Imagine for a second having your house burn to the ground and being left with nothing. When you really allow yourself to think about it, you get that pit in your stomach, awful feeling; don't you? To make matters worse for the Valenzuela family, there is no fire insurance to cover the loss.
Jentzen lives with his family in a rural part of the Big Island of Hawaii: his dad Edwin, mom Blace, his sister Kimi, her husband Sione and their four children: Kayden-Shamar age 12, Loni age 8, Keti age 6 and Sioeli, just 8 months old, shared their home. The fire started early in the morning, while Jentzen was out for a run before work. Picture coming back from a short jog to find yourself without a home, clothes, photographs...any possession you had just 30 minutes before.
The fire department does not know how the fire started; it appears to have started on neighboring property and spread to the Valenzuela's home. All that is known is that after the fire was extinguished, 5 adults and 4 children were left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
I'm fortunate in that I have many friends in my life from Hawaii--beginning with a college friend and then one of my closest law school friends, to today. While I'm not one for stereotypes, I'll engage here: across the board, the friends I have made who were born and raised in Hawaii are among the kindest, truest, warmest, pure hearted people I've met. They are the fastest to help a friend in need. The 'ohana (or family) is of the utmost importance; friends and the community are crucial. Jentzen, and his family, are the epitome of what it means to be Hawaiian. And so, it is no surprise that their family and community have reached out to help.
The Valenzuela family is now living with Jentzen's grandmother. The community has provided food, some clothing, funds, toothbrushes and similar items. But, this is an area that has been hit hard by the recession and the local community can only provide so much. More help is needed.
If You Can Help
Many of you reading this know Jentzen; most of you do not. For those who know Jentzen--I don't need to say too much about why we should each consider providing whatever assistance we can during this devastating loss.
For those who don't know Jentzen and his family, but perhaps are moved to help by the thought of a family losing everything and not simply having the resources to replace that which they need, a big thank you. Any help you can provide is much appreciated because much is needed: monetary donations, where no amount is too small; clothing; and Target gift cards--which are particularly useful so that the family can replace specific items they lost. You name it, it will be helpful, welcomed and very appreciated.
You can mail items to:
P.O. Box 421
Kapaau, HI 96755
If you have questions about specific items needed, please let me know. And, if you're not able to give, please just keep this family in your thoughts and prayers--I know they will truly appreciate it. Thank you!
Final Voting Push
The results of the NASCAR $100K grant will be announced on December 2nd. Please help The Bridge of Books win by voting for Patty Aber. Thank you!
- Tricia McCarthy
- San Francisco, California, United States
- Based on the belief that we all have the ability to make the world a better place, I write about nonprofit organizations, social issues and causes and people making a difference. I work with a variety of nonprofits in the Bay Area. I have a Masters in Nonprofit Administration and a law degree--though these days I only use the law degree for good. I generally update with new posts once a week or so.