Dear Friends of Texas,
Thank you to everyone for their efforts to support the people of Texas and help our communities recover and rebuild our lives. Once you endure the Hurricane of change, you pause to suddenly realize amidst the chaos you have actually survived three Search and Rescues to help move residents and the elderly across a long, cold, murky Texas bath consisting of 27 trillion gallons of water falling from the sky, a few fire ants, snakes and alligators. The annual rainfall of Texas is normally 51 inches, which Harvey delivered in 72 hours! We also survived an emergency evacuation by FEMA & the Fire Department due to 40 feet of flood water surrounding our block, multiple electrical fires and a dove in a ark tree making our homes permanently uninhabitable. I have never done a 1 day pack and move, it was exhausting but thanks to church volunteers, it was possible. The Red Cross Disaster Relief team somehow humorously reminded me over dinner that although our lives are forever transformed, the rewards of flood water search and rescue heroism are bringing people to safety and a tetanus shot given by the #Walgreens Medic team. 😉 Although our art and photo studios were submerged under water, there is nothing to complain about because we are blessed and grateful to still be alive.
I am thrilled about the simple fact I can actually remember what day of the week it is now and am pushing through my Hurricane Harvey PTSD fog. Sunday, I found enough energy to volunteer with #LoveFirst to help other flood residents off of Dairy Ashford near the reservoir clean out their homes and strip them to the concrete. Over 500 residents homes were flooded in that neighborhood, it looks like a war zone with debris everywhere and we have only reached about 10% of the residents. We need more volunteers over the next six months to continue to help bring hope to hurting hearts as much of our community is grieving on multiple levels. On top of everything, my mentor and family friend Lucia, whom I often work with was in critical care at MD Anderson but was moved to hospice and passed Friday evening at 8:10 pm. Lucia has been an inspiration to me personally and many of us in the holistic and creative communities. Her loss will significantly impact us, as no one has stepped up to buy her wellness center. Emotionally, the month has taken a toll on us but we are hoping Shanah Tovah will usher in more positive energy for healing on a local and global scale.
If you have a warm smile and a compassionate heart to serve, two willing hands and need a humbling reminder to be grateful for all your blessings, please join us as a #Volunteer in our ongoing interior and exterior design Hurricane relief #Art projects. We definitely need you now. God Bless everyone, thank you for all your help and please keep all the residents of #Texas, #Louisiana, #Florida, #CaribbeanIslands and #Mexico in your Prayers as we heal and restore our lives.
DONATIONS: Contact a local trucking company to create a 18 Wheeler Donation Drive or fill a PODS Container with a specific type of donation. Separate items in categories for; water, food, non-perishable snacks, toiletries, shoes (tied together with twist ties,) work boots, tools, undergarments like underwear and socks, pillows & blankets, mattresses, sleeping bags, baby supplies like; baby formula & food, pacifiers, bibles, wet wipes & diapers, car seats & strollers, wheelchairs & walkers, Toiletries like;(toothpaste, tooth brushes, soap,) insulin & diabetic (blood glucose meters,) stethoscopes, aspirin, feminine hygiene products, cell phone chargers, dog & cat food, cleaning supplies like hydrogen peroxide & vinegar, etc. Please watch a note on Donating individual Goods to help ensure your donation makes the most impact and are sorted properly for faster delivery to disaster survivors and their communities. Large volume donation drives are a great way to enroll your community and businesses to donate and ship items to areas in desperate need of supplies.
SHELTER NEEDS: The following supplies are the most urgently needed, List of Houston Emergency Shelters and Supply Needs
CHURCH NEEDS: 70% of Hurricane Relief efforts has been supplied by spiritual organizations.
VOLUNTEERING: Restoration of the Texas and all #Hurricane effected communities will be a long term commitment to re-build (hopefully with mandatory steel and concrete construction required in tropical climates,) as many areas are damaged. When connecting with any of the listed Volunteer Groups, please check 1st to learn about current opportunities and when volunteers are needed— before traveling to the affected areas independently. Consider volunteering every other week, or one weekend a month for the next six months to a year if your schedule allows. Adopt a non-profit to do long term relief work. While doing volunteer therapeutic arts with children in the homeless shelters, I learned that your consistent presence will help give families and children a sense of stability in the midst of change and transition. Emotionally, the areas effected by natural disasters, the people are hurting
College Alumni : If you are a current college #Student, member of a #University sports team or #Alumni, ask your school registrars office or Dean to compile a list to check on others Graduates or current students with families living in areas effected by the disasters and volunteer as a #Team to show up to help them. Survivors are busy trying to salvage their lives doing manual labor and moving what they can. Literally, call and go knock on their doors.
Block Volunteers : If you live in an area unaffected by a natural disaster, rally your entire block, or office to host a donation drive or volunteer as a group.
Volunteer Texas : Houston volunteer hotline at 713-881-3100
Home Relief Teams : Volunteer teams are sent around Houston to physically help families impacted by flood waters. No experience or skills are required- just be prepared to get dirty and SHOW UP in athletic wear or jeans in a t-shirt at the ‘Oasis‘ room, next to the Recreation Center at 7401 Katy Fwy with a desire to love & sweat for our city. Serve on Saturdays at 8am or Sundays at 2pm. Also, get work boots, old tennis shoes and keep a plastic bag or tub in your trunk to use vinegar or hydrogen peroxide to sterilize your shoes afterwards. Additional questions, contact: LOVEFIRST.Volunteers@HoustonsFirst.org
Food & Pantry Clothes Closet : Volunteers are needed to serve each day at our Faith Center-Spring Branch, located at 8244 Long Point Rd. Volunteer hours are from 9a -4:30p on Mon-Sat. All you have to do is SHOW UP and be ready to serve! (FYI — the facility is open for those in need from 10a-1p on each of those days.)
Lakewood Hurricane Relief : Register to join the church rebuild Houston.
Caribbean Islands (supported by Oxfam for 30 years)
RED CROSS: The #RedCross set up 34 Emergency Shelters across Texas and 31 in #Florida after the Hurricanes, they only have a few 1000 volunteers and are in need of 17,000 volunteers and shelter managers for support to keep up with the volume of people. You can find to volunteer at Red Cross , or download a free Red Cross App or call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). If you qualify for financial disaster relief, the Red Cross will begin taking applications on September 21st.
EMPLOYMENT: According to Stanford, the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey and Irma will be severe, as many businesses and entrepreneurs like myself have been impacted by flood damage. People will lose their jobs altogether or be out of work for months. While people are displaced and living in shelters, work gives them a sense of mental and financial stability via income. When they are effected both financially and displaced from their homes, it can be a disasterous recipe for tdepression. If you know of legitimate remote work via a laptop and telephone, or of jobs with relocation assistance (to help people or families travel, move and get established in a new home from Point A to Point B.) These are ‘lifelines’ that can provide stability, so are work scholarships or internships that can help recent graduates of high school, new Freshman and college graduates have the money and supplies to continue their education despite the Hurricane displacing them and their families. Also, if you have the business connections, friends or means to personally provide work to Hurricane survivors, this will be of extreme importance in the days and weeks to come for residents in Texas, Louisiana and Florida. Please list any jobs on Indeed asap and ask your publicist to make appropriate announcements for community awareness. Jobs, and being productive helps save lives.
FEMA: People forced to evacuate need to fill out a FEMA application (800-621-3362) and call their insurance company asap. Your family and friends in Texas may need you to help them do this if you have computer access. Hurricanes are considered a mandatory evacuation due to a natural disaster. In 7 to 10 days they will call the hurricane survivor to schedule an inspection to see if they qualify for financial disaster relief, if the property is not inhabitable, they determine if they qualify for aid: www.disasterassistance.gov
TETANUS SHOTS: If you or someone you know are exposed to the flood water, breathing the droplets due to watering getting into your/their home, getting your hands or body wet while working construction or clean up (nicks and cuts), you will need to go to the #RedCross pharmacy run by Walgreens to get a #Tetnus shot unless you have had one in the last 5 years. The Red Cross Medic team will give you a free shot at the Pharmacy inside a local Red Cross shelter. If not go to see your own doctor asap because the germs in the flood water can make you sick up to 2 years later. Better to be safe than sorry.