How to help Houston, from someone who lived there

Hurricane Harvey has been on its warpath for days now. The last report I saw was that this storm dropped 9 trillion gallons of water on the greater Houston area. That number continues to rise today. With every rain drop that falls, someone’s tear drops with it.

I find myself trapped in the conflict of being grateful and guilty, especially since I called the Houston area home for much of my life. It does my mind and heart good to at least try to do something more than sit here a half a world away in my own puddle of tears. Because I realize that if everyone were devastated by this, no one would be left to help.

Those of us who were spared, be grateful, but let us also be helpful.

I am reminded of a song by Matthew West, Do Something:

So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, yeah, I created YOU!”

 

Practically speaking, my “do something” is going to look like an Amazon order for mosquito repellent, hand sanitizer, contractor grade trash bags, a couple of fans, and whatever else I can think of and afford. I’m in England but I will send these to our daughter’s house in the Dallas area and she will get them to family and friends as soon as the roads are safe to navigate. This is my “something.”

Maybe your “something” is donating to a trusted charity or organization. This list could be a mile long. The list of needs are even longer. Please consider this a place to start. *Never give to anyone or any organization without research, and be aware of scams that circulate among tragedy.

American Red Cross

Ways to help evacuees

Prayers for Texas and Ways to Help

Legacy Collective

If your local church is taking donations, give there. Here are a couple of other Houston-area churches I know who would put your donations to good use.

Bayou City Fellowship

Calvary Community Church, Houston

Here’s a cool t-shirt that gives 100% of the proceeds to the Harvey Relief Fund:

Texas On My Mind

(The next section of information is based on a friend’s blog post, “Houston, we have some solutions”. She and her husband lived through last year’s flood in Louisiana. I added my thoughts to hers.)

For those who are flooded:

Things you might need are going to sell out quickly in your area. Avoid the chaos and place an order online and send it to someone you know who is out of the flood path. When the roads are clear, then you can figure out a way to get the items to you. While you wait out this storm, start an Amazon wish list. From shop vacs to mattresses to trash bags to clothing, put it all in there. You can share this with those who love you and want to help in some way but can’t physically get to you.

For those who are not flooded:

Be ready to share your generators, portable a/c units, shop vacs, fans, dehumidifiers and such. Be ridiculously generous with what God has blessed you with. Go to your local hardware store and buy as many contractor grade trash bags, plastic storage bins, mosquito spray, heavy duty gloves, hand sanitizer and quality mold spray that you can afford.

Whether we can help monetarily or not, we can pray! The effects of this devastation will be unfathomably widespread. Businesses have been shut down causing wage loss. Cars have been flooded and transportation will be an issue. Babies will still need to be born and medical emergencies will still happen. If homeowners have insurance, it might take months to process. First responders and linemen will be working around the clock to fix and repair and rescue while their families wonder if they will come home safely. There are issues that unless we live there or have lived through this type of crisis, we couldn’t possible grasp. The waters may recede soon but the results of its wrath will remain for quite some time. Please pray. Pray for provision. Pray for mercy. Pray for peace, health, safety and strength for those who are working to rebuild their lives.

I know that from my storms God has provided rainbows.

So when the water dries up, when the debris is hauled away and when the last tear falls, there will be a rainbow. God promised it.

“And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.’ Genesis 7:12-13

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