Relief Effort that Lasts
Hurricane Harvey has made history. Several of my friends have been rescued from their flooded homes in areas where they never expected flooding. Many have asked how to help and I have several answers for you.
Texas Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief is one of our greatest resources for immediate assistance. It’s a massive band of trained volunteers who arrive on the scene with equipment for mudding out flooded homes, serving thousands of hot meals, providing shower facilities, temporary childcare help, temporary roofing, chaplain care, and a host of other important resources. They’re all volunteers, meaning that every dollar we send goes into the supplies and help for people living through disaster. This is where our church will send disaster relief funds as they are given.
TBM’s disaster relief ministry trains people for responding and several people in our church have received what they call “yellow cap” training–all the folks on the teams wear those yellow caps to identify them. I’m sure they will be putting out calls for additional help, but they do require training to keep you and those that they serve safe.
Connecting with families–we know several families who are in the middle of the disaster. Many will have inadequate insurance coverage and will need direct assistance. You can connect and decide how to help one-on-one with families there. You may need to open your home, give of your resources, or resupply families you know.
Lessons Learned from Katrina. . . Years ago, we had a similar disaster and people cleaned out closets, gave food and all kinds of supplies. We flooded the Salvation Army and Manna house with TONS of clothes and supplies that weren’t really the best help.
The most effective and important help was in relief dollars for those who were on the scene. It will take great sacrifice and a great deal of time to help the people of the Texas coast as they recover. This will be a marathon, not a sprint. As we hear of definitive ways to help, our church will post them on our website and announce them in social media and various print announcements. We will partner with churches in affected areas for projects that will help in the days to come, but that’s not yet possible.
Pray for the millions of people affected this week. THAT is the very best thing you can do immediately. Then, be ready to give, to serve, to partner with people in need.