Friends there are no words for what has unfolded in Texas over the past week. Watching people lose everything and some even their lives has been paralyzing. My hometown has flooded beyond anything I’ve ever seen. It is all just too much for my brain to comprehend. To see schools underwater, businesses underwater, a years worth or work in a cotton field gone and pastures of cattle in danger make you question how long it will possibly be before any type of normal life will be able to continue.
Even if grocery stores are able to open it is almost impossible for them to receive food deliveries. The HEB in my hometown has nothing left and as of yesterday the town was shut off to the world in all directions. This is a very small town and I see how it is effecting them and knowing this is happening on a much larger level everywhere is just so much to take in.
Many of you who read my blog here know Tanya from The Other Side of the Road. Her family road out the storm in Houston and finally evacuated when the water was knee deep in their home. I would love to gather gift cards to restaurants, Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, Target….you get the idea. If any of you readers would like to contribute please contact me directly at email@example.com with more info on how to participate.
If you are sitting at home like me and wondering how in the heck you can help, I’m listing some posts I’ve seen with information on donating, making purchases from vendors who are donating and then just some tips I saw this morning from a blogger friend who lives in Houston.
Be VERY SPECIFIC in your offer to assist friends who have flooded. IT IS DIFFICULT TO THINK STRAIGHT AND MAKE DECISIONS WHEN OVERWHELMED AND TRAUMATIZED.
For example, instead of saying “What can I do to help?” Try these specific suggestions:
1. Can I come help today until 8pm to get water out of your house?
2. Can I come by with baskets and wash your wet clothing at my house?
3. Can I bring you lunch/dinner at 1pm today? How many people? Where would you like it delivered? (They are probably not staying in their flooded home)
4. Would you like to eat dinner at our house at 8pm? We have clean towels if you want to shower here first. We are serving brisket, potatoes, and salad. (They will look forward to specific meals and enjoy having a concrete plan). Don’t be upset if they are late – offer a beer or glass of wine.
5. Bring an ice chest full of bottled ice, water, Gatorade, lemonade to their flooded home. The Corp of Engineers is handing out free ice and bottled water. Figure out where the closest location is. Go get some every morning and deliver it to them. Give family the location if you have to stop.
6. Set up a folding table in their garage/carport with a sign that reads “Return Tools Here.” (Write your name and phone number in Sharpie on the table if you want it back in a month or so as they won’t remember who brought it)
7. Set up a table and chairs in a shaded area outside so workers have a place to take a break, eat a meal, etc… a lot of times you can hose off and disinfect a patio table (1/4 cup bleach per gallon of water.) Put ice chest of drinks close by.
8. Order large plastic tubs with tops to store all their belongings – 50 is not too many. If they arrive next week, they will still need them.
9. Offer to drive to Bastrop or Austin to purchase supplies to begin muck out as you can be back in 6 hours. Flat shovels, bleach, spray bottles, light weight electric saw to cut sheet rock, mask, safety goggles, bags of industrial rag packs (can be washed and reused), industrial trash bags, Wheel barrel, disinfectant, 5 gallon buckets, etc…
10. If you are out of town and want to help, mail gift cards to restaurants, grocery and hardware stores that are nearby.
11. Can I loan you a car for a week?
12. Can call in, refill, and deliver a prescription for you?
13. Can I pick up your kids, take them to my house to play, and then drop them off at the end of the day? Is 8pm a good time?