As I write this, the images of people in Texas and Louisiana fleeing their homes with little more than they can carry breaks my heart and triggers vivid memories of the floodwaters I escaped in 2005.
I know the depth of gratitude felt when, soaked to the bone and in a state of scared shock; a boat finally arrives to take you to safety. I also know the enormity of sadness and loss you feel when, from that boat, you look back at your home with several feet of water running through it and, with nowhere else to go, wonder how you will ever recover.
I was fortunate to have an army of friends who responded quickly and kept responding for weeks afterwards. I wouldn’t have made it without my Helpers, and I see the Helpers in Texas and Louisiana working diligently in rescue after rescue and that gives me hope, but now is the time we must all become Helpers. The people affected by this flooding can get through this, but they need us and will continue to for a very long time.
The floodwaters that ran through my house receded quickly, which aided in rebuilding. But this water is not leaving quickly and with the humid conditions there the longer it takes to get into those homes to begin the nasty, heart wrenching work of clearing them out the less chance there will be of saving anything, including the structures.
Short and long term needs will far outpace what the government can provide, so it is up to us to help. If you are able to give financially, then please do so. There are a couple of good websites that can link you with legitimate organizations working in the affected areas. Check out the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD.org) and Charity Navigator (charitynavigator.org) websites.
Another option is to contact the Houston Food Bank, Galveston County Food Bank and the SE Texas Food Bank to learn how you might help fill their needs. And donations to the Houston Humane Society, the San Antonio Humane Society and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Texas will help displaced animals with food and shelter.If you have more time than money, find an organization or shelter that needs boots on the ground and volunteer to provide comfort to these displaced people who are now facing a new and unknown “normal”.
Our work as Helpers will not be over once the waters recede. That’s when thousands of volunteers providing grunt labor will be needed to help clean out and gut the houses left standing.
Whatever we can do, wherever we can help, we must. We cannot become distracted from or complacent in this battle for survival in which our brothers and sisters are fighting. However we can, we must become soldiers in their army of Helpers.