Community… During and After Hurricane Harvey

harveyHi Everyone! So we are several days into the effects of Hurricane Harvey. Listening to the news, as I update this, I just heard that Harvey has created an 800 year flood, not 100yr or even 500yr, but 800yr… this is incredibly surreal. I’m sharing what I know of places, organizations and resources to donate, volunteer and help.

Did you know… Houston is huge. The greater metropolitan area is circled by the Grand Parkway – which is 170 miles long. That makes the area of the circle inside the Grand Parkway over 2,200 square miles of densely habited, urban and suburban, areas that flooded.

Imagine if the entire state of Delaware, with twice the population of Manhattan was under water.

Y’all, I live here and reading/typing this seems surreal and overwhelming to me.

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photo credit via instagram @houstoncity @gallo_potosino

“When I was a boy and I would see something scary in the news, my mother would always say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people helping.”” -Fred Rogers

Disaster Relief for Hurricane Harvey

These organization are accepting donations, monetary and supplies. And many of them are looking for volunteers. For updates follow all of these organizations on Facebook. They are updating needs and information on their social media.

Red Cross –

You can Text HARVEY to 90999. You can also donate via their website. If you are local or able to they are also looking for volunteers.

George R. Brown –

This shelter is being run by the Red Cross and they are taking volunteers, donations, supplies, and are currently looking for licensed medical professionals, RNs. If you are local (and can get there safely), you can drop off supplies to them clothing items, packaged food, blankets, pillows towels, diapers, formula, hygiene supplies, comfort kits, first aid supplies, medical gloves, feminine products, shampoo/conditioner, and hand sanitizer. Local business  DownHouse is also accepting these supply donations to deliver to shelters in need. Latest update via 8:40pm the George R Brown has greatly exceeded the expected numbers of people and is in of need more blankets and pillows so if you can get there and donate, please do!

Sponsor A Family – Sugar & Cloth –

Sugar & Cloth is well known among Houstonians and beyond! And not only are they hosting a donation drive for in-kind donations and supplies for evacuees and those displaced, but now they also have a link to sponsor a family. So if you want to give in a more personal way, click HERE and work with Sugar and Cloth to directly sponsor a family affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Soles 4 Souls– 

Soles4Souls acts as second wave responders to provide much needed shoes and clothing to those affected by natural disasters. Soles4Souls is raising funds to help mobilize new product to the area when appropriate.

United Way Houston

Collecting donations for Relief Fund via their website or text. You can Text UWFLOOD to 41444.

Houston Food Bank

If you are local, when it is safe to travel to their Portwall location, The Houston Food Bank will need volunteers and donations and they will notify  as soon as that time comes via this page. If you can help in the meantime, please consider making a donation through their Harvey Relief page.

Texas Diaper Bank

is collecting diapers to create emergency diaper kits for families in need. You can also donate via their website.

The Salvation Army of Greater Houston

The Salvation Army is ready to provide physical, emotional and spiritual care to survivors and relief workers. Salvation Army disaster teams from across the country are mobilizing and, even after disaster response efforts are over, The Salvation Army will remain in communities impacted by this terrible storm, supporting long-term disaster recovery efforts and providing ongoing assistance to those in need.

You Caring-Houston Flood Relief Fundraiser –

This fundraiser was set up by JJ Watt for the Hurricane Harvey Recovery Effort. He is giving frequent updates about the fundraiser via his Instagram feed.  You can donate directly by clicking HERE.

Convoy of Hope –

Currently, Convoy of Hope is ONLY taking volunteers within 2 hours of the affected area. However, if the need for volunteers increases substantially, the team may reach out to volunteers living outside of the area. Volunteers must be at least 13 years of age, in good physical health and are responsible for their own transportation and lodging.

UMCOR- United Methodist Committee On Relief

UMCOR is currently working with disaster coordinators and early response teams to provide relief to the many people whose lives have been impacted by hurricane/tropical storm Harvey. And you can donate directly via their website.

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund

After receiving an overwhelming number of inquiries from citizens and companies who want to help, Mayor Sylvester Turner has established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that will accept tax deductible flood relief donations for victims that have been affected by the recent floods. You can donate directly via their website.

#PillowsForHouston –

My dear, sweet friend, Rebecca has started a #pillowsforhouston drive. Click HERE to learn all about it. You can donate for pillow purchases and/or you can help her make homemade pillowcases. These pillows will go directly to those in need and she’s working with local charities to distribute directly to those impacted and evacuated from their homes.

Catholic Charities –

You can donate directly via their website. With your gift, Catholic Charities can provide food, clothing, shelter and a network of support services to those dealing with the aftermath of this disaster from all walks of life and religious backgrounds.

Coalition for the Homeless

The Coalition is currently exploring disaster funding that can be used specifically for homeless and displaced formerly homeless individuals to get them back into housing.

Houston Independent School District –

Many HISD families have been devastated by the catastrophic flooding in the Houston area caused by Hurricane Harvey. The district is accepting donations of new and unused clothing, shoes, underwear, socks, uniforms and school supplies, as well as canned food and water.

Local Houston Businesses Accepting Donations –

These are some local Houston businesses that are currently accepting donations to take to the George R Brown to assist with all of the people sheltering there and have been displaced from their homes. If you can’t safely make it to the George R Brown, but you can make it to one of the businesses it still provides an opportunity to donate! DownHouse , Tiny’s No 5, Man Ready Mercantile, Mercy House Global, Sugar & Cloth, and Sojurn Heights. Saint Street Swim  has partnered with Art Mix Creative Learning Center to collect new and gently used crayons, paper, coloring books, puzzles, and board games.

 “Do your little bit of good wherever you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
– Desmond Tutu

Y’all I feel weird because normally during a hurricane or flood or tropical storm or even ice storm (yes we’ve had one of those in Houston), I’m at the shelter helping people, doing things. But this time I don’t work at the shelter, I can’t physically (safely) get to one of the current open shelters and I feel weird, I want to be out there helping, doing, but right now I can’t. So I decided to write this post. Above are links of places and organizations to donate financially or with supplies. Some of these organizations are also taking volunteers. I’ve also included a list of shelters below that are currently open in Houston, in case you are in need of one or are near one and can get to it safely to volunteer. I will update this list as I learn of and hear more. There have already been so many helpers and if you can help in any way, through prayers, through sending love, through spreading the word, or through one of these organizations, please know the people in Houston not only need it, but are ever so grateful for it.

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photo credit REUTERS/Richard Carson

Shelters Currently Open in Houston

You can also check out updated lists of Houston shelters by clicking HERE or HERE.

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Because truly y’all, there are no words. Living in Houston my entire life, experiencing multiple tropical storms, floodings and hurricanes, I have never seen my home town, Houston so covered in water.

My heart breaks seeing my fellow Houstonians lose so much. And yet, I am so grateful for our safety and for all of the help that has been pouring into our city.

My family and friends have remained safe and dry and I am ever so grateful for that too. But the effects of Harvey are widespread and so many have been rescued by boat, have been displaced, are in need of support, and some are even being called to evacuate, plus Harvey isn’t even over.

I still have no real words, so I’ll leave it at this… I am grateful for safety and family and friends. I am grateful for the helpers. I am grateful that through this, there is opportunity to build community and support each other. So even though my heart breaks, and there is so much to be done and so much help needed, I am grateful for love and community.

And please SHARE this post if you know of people who would like to help or are looking for ways to help or where to help!

 

 

 

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