Here we are two Fridays after Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas coast and we are now watching the devastation Irma has stirred up so far. Praying for Florida and all of those islands already affected so heavily. As for Texas there is still so much recovery needed in the weeks and months to come it’s hard to grasp. While the rest of the world has moved on to the next big news event, there are some in Houston who have been displaced for an unknown amount of time. Schools which have been modified to accommodate two campuses in one location because so many schools were damaged that severely. Major transportation routes still unable to be accessed leading to major commutes for those headed back to work.
We drove to Corpus Christi last Sunday to take Riley his truck since he moved it before the storm. I was shocked at how little the news covered some of the small communities we drove through. The town of Refugio was like a war zone with tents set up in parking lots and drive thru stations for water and other supplies. Apparently all services were still not available 9 days after the hurricane as the gas station had about 10 port-a-potties lined up along the side. The community of Bayside was equally as bad with houses completely leveled and I lost count of the number of utility poles down.
My little hometown probably saw flooding in 75% of the homes and so many of those people will not be covered by FEMA but also more than likely did not have flood insurance. Seeing people haul 40 years of memories to the curb really does pull at your heart strings.
Last week I shared some ways to offer help to those surviving a disaster. I’ve seen so many step up and thought I would share a few more. Sometimes I think we hesitate because we feel if we cannot make a financial impact we have nothing to offer but that is not always the case.
- Offer to babysit while the adults work on flood recovery/repairs, insurance issues or just to have a moment to soak it all in.
- Sit and assist with filing claims or FEMA paperwork online. While you may not be an expert, I promise if you have not been directly impacted your brain will be less foggy than theirs and just bringing some calmness to the situation will help.
- Bring a home cooked meal to a family who is housing evacuees.
- Contact your local schools and ask if refugees from the storm have migrated to your area. If you are within 200 miles of the affected areas the chances are high some have and you have the opportunity to help with school supplies. Supplies may seem so simple but to a child who has already sustained the trauma of losing all their possessions and changing schools these supplies can give them some normalcy.
- Volunteer at local shelters and get involved with your local community organizations.
- Do laundry!
- Hold a supply drive in your own community.
The biggest I think is not to forget about them! This is not going to be a short term fix. Many have lost their jobs simply because the business has been destroyed or shut down indefinitely. They are displaced and trying to start over from scratch. People will be proud but don’t let that stop you from helping anyway! Find ways to really, really love on these people.
You know what you have to gain? New perspective, empathy, awareness of how much you may not appreciate the things you take for granted every single day. I mean, I’m speaking for myself here because I was so irritated when I found out curbside grocery pickup had been temporarily suspended. So spoiled when I should be grateful there are staples available if I walk into the store!
While not the way you would have seen this all come together, this is the chance to build community!
Last night Katy and I had the chance to hear Kristin Schell speak at a women’s event and if you haven’t heard her story of the Turquoise Table you should take a minute to check it out. Building community with others before the storm builds trust and unity so we can stand together through all the storms in life. My mind is racing with ideas of how to act on this concept!
We’re all in this together! (and you get bonus points if you hear the High School Musical soundtrack when you read that!)