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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!