The media and news cycle is pretty much done with Hurricane Harvey by now. Two other hurricanes have hit, there’s the Syrian food crisis, and another Harvey (the Weinstein kind) is making news for victimizing dozens of individuals.
Besides, it’s been two months. Houston is “fixed” by now, isn’t it?
The answer is unfortunately no. This viral picture of a Houston resident watching Game 7 of the World Series last night pretty much sums things up:
— Thomas Campbell (@thomasgcampbell) November 2, 2017
It probably won’t even be fully cleaned up by the end of 2018. Thousands of homes are still in disrepair, but people around the U.S. have moved on. Many organizations are still able to tap into the resources donated shortly after the hurricane, but there is one thing they are sorely lacking:
Many unaffected families along the coast are happy to continue the relief work. After all, the disaster is still visible and relevant to them. It’s in their backyards, so to speak. Organizations, including LiveBeyond, are struggling to recruit volunteers from outside the area. Groups are trickling in, but the steady flow of volunteers has ceased. But the work is still getting done.
Our disaster relief coordinator James Woodroof has been down there for weeks with local teams spearheading construction efforts.
“Relief is just beginning. We have most of the homes gutted out. The gutting is hard work, but relatively easy in terms of skill. People need their homes rebuilt now. That’s the phase Houston is in. There are a lot of people that didn’t have insurance and aren’t getting any aid. We have the money and supplies, although we will always take more. What we really need is the labor to meet these needs,” he said.
There are plenty of people who still need help, especially in communities where people don’t feel comfortable signing up for aid. There are many churches actively helping along the Gulf Coast, but the more hands we have helping to rebuild, the sooner people can get back to their homes and their everyday lives. The saying is true that there is strength in numbers; imagine what we could accomplish if more of us took time to help our brothers and sisters! If you have been thinking about volunteering, now is the perfect time.
While volunteers from Amarillo, Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin continue to lend a hand, the frequency of their trips has dwindled. The churches in the Houston area are doing as much as they can.
One of our partner churches, Grace Crossing Community Church of Christ in Conroe, Texas, had a big announcement for volunteers last Sunday; by that afternoon, hundreds had signed up.
James also knows of several church members at Grace Crossing that are going into communities where people don’t feel comfortable signing up for aid. They are spending their own money to help out those in need, regardless of their background. “The church here is doing their part. We just need more volunteers from outside this area to get people back into their homes.”
Devin Vanderpool is the Director of Communications for LiveBeyond. To find our how you can partner with LiveBeyond or donate to their relief efforts visit http://livebeyond.org/waystohelp/.