Thank you Kathy Gambino, Angleton, TX for this great list of ways we can help those affected by the Hurricane Harvey and the historic flooding.
Hurricane Harvey has brought “500-year” rainfall and flood conditions to the Houston. Areas around Houston have experienced flooding reaching 1,000-year thresholds or more. and South Texas.
Many people are feeling very overwhelmed right now and they aren’t mentally, physically, or even spiritually well due to severe stress, exhaustion and trauma. They may not even know what they actually need or have difficulty communicating their needs.
If you are looking to help anyone in need now, the coming days, weeks or even months, this is GREAT advice:
PRAY and keep praying…it is the single most helpful and impacting thing you can do for your friends and neighbors suffering from a natural disaster like this. Many times people welcome a BRIEF, personal prayer in person, but ask them first. God loves, hears, cares, and moves for his people!
Offer a hug. Sometimes people experiencing a crises need and want a hug, but respect their space and ask them if they need one first. Be willing to offer one, even if you are not a hugger. [ I was offered a hug this week while evacuating my horses, by someone who I knew wasn’t comfortable hugging…and it meant the world to me!] Sometimes, however, people do NOT want to be physically comforted or become emotional in front of others.
Also choose not be offended if the people you are helping, get irritated, upset, angry, or even rude. Exhausted, hurting people may. Love them and keep helping anyway, unless they ask you to not help or stop helping.
BE VERY SPECIFIC in your offer to assist. IT IS DIFFICULT TO THINK STRAIGHT AND MAKE DECISIONS WHEN OVERWHELMED AND TRAUMATIZED.
For example, instead of saying “What can I do to help?” Or “Call me if you need anything at all.” try these specific suggestions:
Can I help you prepare your home for the possible/coming flood?
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? Be willing to donate your laundry baskets.
3. Can I bring you lunch/dinner at __pm 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 irritated if they are late.
5. Bring an ice chest full of bottled ice, water, Gatorade, tea, lemonade to their flooded home. The Corp of Engineers is handing out free ice and bottled water.[ Not certain about this] 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. Be willing to consider it a donation, if it gets lost, misplaced, or loaned to someone else in the process.)
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 cordless 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 (double check the appropriate address) gift cards for restaurants, grocery and hardware stores that are nearby.
11. Can I loan you a car for a week (with a full tank of gas and perhaps gas cards to fill up as needed)?
12. Can I 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? [Offer to keep others’ children, who are helping affected families, so they can give assistance safely and unhindered.]
14. Can we host you and your family for Thanksgiving/Christmas?
15. Can I come help you go through your things and pack up what is salvageable?
If you have read this far down the list, thank you for your compassion. It is truly amazing to watch our country come together and make a life changing difference!!! Do what you can, don’t feel guilty for what you can’t. It is highly probable that many families will need support for weeks or even months. Keep checking and asking. Often, immediate help thins after a few days, due to people having to go back to work, or personal limitations.
NOW GO SHOW SOME LOVE 💝💝💝