I’ve been gripped by Hurricane Harvey coverage, and I know I’m not alone. But this one is personal to me. Houston is my hometown and my parents’ home was flooded. So far away from them, I was on pins and needles as they had to retreat to the second floor until the water receded. The water did recede, and they are among the lucky ones who only got a few inches and had a second floor to retreat to. My step-brother and family are dry, but their neighborhood is impassable and they spent days under threat of water and tornados. Again, they are among the very lucky ones and are already out helping others. People I grew up with had to be rescued by boat from roofs and second story windows and air-lifted by helicopter from the roof of their car in their driveway after the waters rose in their home to chest-high. Escaping with their lives and each other, it’s staggering. This link does a good job of visually demonstrating the before and after of the water in the city.
The devastation is widespread and so many people have lost so much so quickly. And it is so far from over. It will take weeks for the water to completely clear out. Much more time to dry out, and years for the city to recover.
I haven’t lived in Houston in a long time, but it has my heart. Most of my friends know how much I love the food and the kind people, and they’ve often heard me wax poetic about the cosmopolitan and cultural offerings of Houston. And of course, there’s my beloved Houston Rockets (smile). So many reasons to love H-Town.
Action is my primary defense mechanism. If I can find something to do or a way forward, I feel less anxious, more empowered and clear-headed. So I really DO NOT like to feel helpless, and this experience has been a test. I’m providing this list in case you share that feeling, but also know that if you can’t give money or goods, positivity, good wishes and support in any form you can offer matters a huge amount.
I also know there are so many causes around the world that need support. This is one of them, and if you’re inclined, here’s a far from exhaustive list of ways to help:
- NFL player for the Houston Texans JJ Watt started a Houston Flood Relief Fund
- Houston Mayor Turner started a Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
- Houston Food Bank
- The Texas Diaper Bank
- Coalition for the Homeless
- The Salvation Army
- and of course, The American Red Cross
Gosh, I could go on and on. I found these Vox and Texas Monthly articles helpful and they include many more options for action in them. The Houston Chronicle is maintaining and updating a list here. This New York Times piece offers more options plus tips to avoid being scammed in making your decisions.
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