Hurricane Harvey Relief Update & Good News

Hi friends!  I wanted to give you another update on Hurricane Harvey because I know how much you care.  It’s all that’s on our hearts and minds lately.   I shared ways you can help yesterday, but I’m learning more as the days pass and more information is being disseminated, so I have more to share today.  Along with some inspiring stories in the midst of all the suffering.  We could use some good news, right?
Although it has continued to rain, the water surrounding our neighborhood subsided and we were able to get out of our house in the morning to donate items to the George R. Brown Convention Center.  They have 10,000 people sheltered there – ten thousand!! and had only planned for 5,000, so they were in desperate need of supplies.  While they need donations (pillows, blankets, towels, toiletries, diapers, feminine products, dog food, crayons/coloring books), they advised to take clothing to the @salvationarmyus or @starofhopemission because they were receiving too many clothes to sort.
We heard good news that our local grocery store had reopened, so we stopped by to get supplies, but the line was wrapped wayyy out the door and people were standing out there with umbrellas getting rained on.  We heard it was taking 1 1/2 hours to check out- so, we decided to head back home and see what we could donate from our house.  We gathered things like yoga mats, pillows, blankets, toiletries, toilet paper, diapers, ready-to-eat food, books, and crayons.  Some of Jordan’s old things I was saving for future babies born in our family (not us!), but I know people need these things NOW, so we gave them. I’m hoping tomorrow we’ll be able to get into the stores easier to buy more supplies like formula, diapers, wipes and dog/cat food.  We can’t forget our furry friends! Donate to the SPCA of Texas here.
harvey donation
At a time like this, when we are fortunate to be safe and sound, we want to be helpful and do something useful in addition to donating money. I also wanted James to see firsthand that people are in need because he doesn’t really understand the gravity of the situation.  So, having him choose things to donate and having him come with us to give was important.
It took us about an hour in the car line to drop off our donations, but as soon as we made the turn from the street into the drop off area and I saw so.many.people lined up on either side of the aisle, ready to help unload our car, I started to cry because it was just so moving as I’m sure you can imagine.  They unloaded the car in about 5 seconds flat!
And then, seeing this inside a shelter gave me goosebumps.  Everyone is so resilient and strong!  We WILL help them recover and we WON’T forget them in a week or two.
So many of you have kindly asked if you could mail donations here for me to deliver and I would totally do that, but we aren’t getting mail right now. I will let you know when we are.  In the meantime, the public school district in our area, HISD (Houston Independent School District), is accepting shipped donations at:
HISD Harvey Donation
Delmar Fieldhouse
2020 Mangum Road
Houston, Texas 77092
I’m told you can even ship via Amazon.
There’s been an outpouring of support from you and and from our friends in surrounding cities like Dallas and Austin that are preparing to take in thousands of people who’ve been displaced by the hurricane.  They have supplies ready and waiting for when evacuees get to town!  My girlfriend and her family went to Dallas to escape the storm and she reported back how amazing Dallas is being to her sister city.  She said the school has offered to take her kids, friends and family are gathering items to take to donation centers, several kid-friendly places are offering free admission for Houstonians, and to top it all off, she was offered a free week of yoga! The Dallas Perot Museum is offering free admission.  Thank you so much Dallas and Austin!!  You are awesome!
But it’s not just our neighboring cities, I’m hearing from you all across the US and beyond about fundraisers going on in your towns and donation centers being set up.  Y’all are amazing!
Volunteers have come and are still making their way to Houston and the coast from all over the country to volunteer and rescue people!  They are taking time away from their lives, their families, and jobs to be a light to their fellow humans!  I could just cry again at the photo below.
Harvey rescue
My mom was telling me that in her area, they went to three places (the Berry Center and two different churches) yesterday to help and donate items and they got turned away because each place was at 100% capacity with volunteers, donations, and sheltered people.  Isn’t that amazing?! Not that they had so many people sheltered, but that they had so many volunteers and donations!
My brother has a tall truck, so he went to his local fire station to volunteer, but was told he needed to be a first responder or have a boat to help, but he found a family that had been rescued by boat and dropped off at a closed gas station and was able to drive them to their family that wasn’t able to get to them.
These are just a few personal stories of hope and strength that I share with you to put a silver lining on all the heartbreak and sadness we’ve been seeing. I know at my core that humanity is GOOD!

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If you happen to be in Houston, my friend Ashley at Sugar & Cloth has set up a donation drive for tomorrow, Thursday August 31st from noon – 6 p.m. at 2001 Commerce Street.  I plan to be there delivering more supplies and would be happy to give a hug to you if you can swing by.
The WAZE app will give you a pretty good understanding of what roads are closed.
 
Sugar and cloth Harvey donation

Below is a list of items needed:

General Supplies — new underwear, socks, and t-shirts of all sizes, general toiletries, feminine hygiene products, baby diapers and wipes, formula, baby bottles, towels, hand sanitizers, deodorant, first aid supplies, medical gloves, new pillows and blankets.

Food Supplies — Any and all canned foods and fruits, pasta, quinoa, brown rice, salt-free seasonings, granola bars and/or quick bites, unopened cereals and oatmeal, canned or bottled milk, Ensure, Pedialyte, and bottled water.

Animal Shelter Supplies — Animal beds, cat litter, unopened cat and dog treats, pet toys, puppy pads, animal crates, leashes, and bagged or canned food.

And if you’re looking for more ways to help, my Houston friends Veronika and Caroline have detailed posts with tons of great information about ways to assist during this time of need. 
Many of you have also recommended Samaritan’s Purse as a trusted place to donate.  100% of donations go to people/areas in need.
Also, many companies match donations, so ask your company!  I’ve heard Chevron has already given a million dollars to the Red Cross.
And hometown boy JJ Watt’s Foundation has raised $3.3 million as of last night!
A reader reached out to me with this helpful CPA TIP:  If you know someone who has suffered damage to their home, my CPA friend gave me this valuable bit of info:  insurance deductibles, along with any uninsured items are considered casualty losses that (once meeting certain thresholds) can be taken against any taxes owed and the loss can be carried forward for up to 20 years to be taken against next year’s taxes and so on.  Please keep your documents and payments recorded so you can get that benefit.  It even includes landscaping and shrubbery, which can be expensive and not covered by flood insurance.
Finally, I just wanted to share some good news that it stopped raining and we finally saw the sunshine peeking through last night!!!  Hallelujah!!! But we are keeping you in our prayers, Louisiana!
If you have helpful information to share, we’d love to hear it!
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24 Comments

  1. Maria
    August 30, 2017 / 5:03 am

    Such a beautiful, thoughtful post, Megan. Even though we’re states away, we are glued to the TV & our hearts are heavy. Like you, I believe that there is so much more good than evil in the world. We witnessed it firsthand on 9/11. My brother was a first responder & he would come home, totally exhausted, in tears with stories of the amazing support & outpouring of love from everyone in our city. Our prayers are with everyone who is suffering through this.

    • August 30, 2017 / 10:09 am

      Oh man, I can’t even imagine that! What a special brother you have! Those first responders to that tragedy are true heroes. Thank you so much for everyone in your prayers.

  2. Jennie
    August 30, 2017 / 5:35 am

    Thank you so much for letting us know how to help! My fourth grade class wants to collect donations for school kids in Houston, so we will ship supplies and donations to the address you provided. Continued prayers from Ohio for your city and it’s amazing people! ❤️❤️❤️

    • August 30, 2017 / 11:21 pm

      That is so kind Jennie! Kids have the best, most innocent hearts! I used to live in Ohio too!

  3. Julie in Philadelphia
    August 30, 2017 / 5:51 am

    I was so relieved to read your post. Thank you so much for such an informative update. I’ve been thinking about you & your family from all the way in Philadelphia & checking your blog daily for updates. I love that you have deep compassion & empathy and your children will inherit that from you. When we have a lot, it’s our duty to give to others who have less, and you are instilling that value in your kids. The world truly needs more people like you in it.

    • August 30, 2017 / 11:23 pm

      We’re trying, but I know it’s a work in progress. I hope exposing him to these things makes an impact.

  4. Pamela
    August 30, 2017 / 7:21 am

    So glad to hear the rain is subsiding. I pray it stops soon for all. Everyone is in our thoughts and prayers. The one good thing out of this is seeing so many people come together. Just proves there is humanity and kindness.

    JJ Watt is the best!! He is from WI and a former Badger, so all us Wisconsinites are so proud of what he is doing for Houston. Hope more athletes, celebrities, musicians, etc can step up and do the same.

    God Bless!

    • August 30, 2017 / 11:24 pm

      We’re supposed to get a break from the rain for several days, we need it! Your JJ is doing so good! He threw a football to my son at a game and he’ll never forget it!

  5. Anne
    August 30, 2017 / 10:57 am

    I can’t imagine how devastating this must be and it’s fantastic that there is so much support!! But let’s not forget about the rest of the world!! India and Bangladesh are suffering from severe floods right now and obviously do not have the same capacities to recover…just a thought to keep in mind…

    • August 30, 2017 / 11:18 pm

      Oh man, I admit, I haven’t even thought about that. I guess I’ve been too consumed with what is happening all around me.

  6. Deanna
    August 30, 2017 / 11:00 am

    An old friend sent me pictures of her flooded house yesterday. She and her husband and 4 kids live in Canyon Gate at Cinco Ranch in Katy. They had to evacuate with their children on air mattresses because the boats couldn’t reach them. My heart is so heavy for them and everyone who is suffering as a result of the storm. It’s hard to even imagine what they are going through. Thank you for your post and the links. Our family is donating to the Red Cross but at a time like this we, and so many others, wish there was more we could do. Prayers for Houston.

    • August 30, 2017 / 11:17 pm

      It’s real life stories like that that are so heartbreaking. I keep thinking of how scary that must have been and especially for the kids. I’ll be thinking about them.

  7. Kasey
    August 30, 2017 / 1:04 pm

    Hi Megan!
    Thank you for your post updating all of us here who are not in the area. My son and I are compiling an Amazon order to send to HISD, however their website says that all schools and offices are closed due to severe weather. I’m sure the conditions are changing by the minute but thought I would ask if you knew if they were actively accepting deliveries or if that had changed since your post today? Would like to send items, as well as financial contributions, but want to be sure they will be able to be received. Many prayers are being sent to all of Houston and the surrounding areas hit by Harvey. So happy you and your family are safe.

    • August 30, 2017 / 11:16 pm

      Kasey, thank you for reaching out. I think they are accepting, they must have volunteers at that office, but I will call tomorrow to confirm and then update you!

  8. Traci
    August 30, 2017 / 2:03 pm

    Everything that’s happened in the Houston area is eerily similar of our area (Baton Rouge & surrounding suburbs) last year at this time. The only difference is ours wasn’t a tropical storm or hurricane, it just wouldn’t stop raining. I’d never seen anything like it & I didn’t think I ever would again. I mean when will it rain more than 30 inches in a couple of days? Who knew it would be 50 a year later. My family like yours was very lucky in that we didn’t flood so we were able to help. The one thing every victim said was that the Red Cross wasn’t very helpful at all & that it was better to donate to churches & that sort of organization. Also, storage bins were scarce & EVERYONE needed them. If you can get to a store that would be a great thing to buy. I can’t tell you how many I bought & how happy people were to see them. I’ve been & will continue to pray for all of you.

    • August 30, 2017 / 10:23 pm

      I’m so surprised about the Red Cross- I’ve always trusted them and have given to them before. It is unbelievable how much devastation all this rain has caused. Another think I’m hearing to donate is big trash bags, cleaning supplies, respiratory masks.

  9. Sue
    August 30, 2017 / 2:54 pm

    Megan, thank you for this update. Material things are replaceable, family members are not replaceable. Thank God there are few deaths. People need the basic necessities and you are trying to get the word out. I know you don’t take your dry house and safe family without a thankful prayer. All of us can truthfully say,there for the grace of God go I. A storm,tornado, earthquake or fire could put any area of the country in these same situations.

    • August 30, 2017 / 10:25 pm

      Never felt more grateful. This storm did not discriminate- all different neighborhoods have been affected. It’s so sad, but trying to take action helps.

  10. August 30, 2017 / 8:13 pm

    A great post. I’m so glad that you made it through. Thanks for sharing things from someone who was there. We in the Dallas area are helping any way we can. Blessings to you.

    • August 30, 2017 / 10:25 pm

      I’ve heard all about the great things Dallas is doing. I’m updating on Stories too if you want to check in.

  11. Erin P.
    August 31, 2017 / 2:31 pm

    I’m a reader who is on my kiddo’s elementary school PTA in Louisville, KY. We are looking for an area PTA to “adopt”, send school supplies, letters for students, items of need for teachers and staff. Do you have any recommendations?

  12. Kandie
    August 31, 2017 / 2:39 pm

    Sending you a virtual hug Megan! The devastation is just awful to see on tv. My littles were 3 and 5 when Sandy hit us in NJ and my oldest remembers it all. We lost everything….but we had each other. It’s just not something you can put into words, but there will be a rainbow at the end of the storm. I’m so glad you and your family made it through and you’re able to reach out and help with James tagging along. Those people will need help for a long time after all the news/national guard people leave, the sun dries out the flooding, and the homes start to come down or rebuild. Thank you for keeping us all posted and letting us know how we can help from miles away! Continued prayers are with everyone affected by the hurricane!

    • August 31, 2017 / 3:33 pm

      I feel the same way Kandie. Things look relatively “normal” where I live. As I drive around, there is still some road closures and flooding, but the skies are sunny today and people are generally going about their business. But, I know that’s not the case for so many people. Their lives are forever changed by this hurricane. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. We have friends who have flood damage to their homes and we are now working on meal trains, donations, etc. It’s good to be able to give/receive. It builds our relationships. Thank you so much for praying.

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