Houston, Texas. Before heading to Uganda, I owned a house here, and I am living here now. I graduated from high school here, raised my kids here, and have lived here for longer than anywhere else. So the effects of Hurricane Harvey and the after-storm are near to my heart.
The past week has seen the worst flooding Houston has ever seen. The freeway overpass closest to where I now live was completely underwater! The San Jacinto River reached the highest level in history, overflowing so dramatically that much of the NE suburb of Kingwood was drenched in several feet of water. My apartment did not flood, but dozens of my friends have had their homes flooded, the local high school flooded, the library flooded. Local folks used their own boats to help police & emergency services rescue families from their flooding homes. And this is just a tiny corner of Houston. Throughout the city, this was repeated, from Kingwood to the city center to Dickinson. It's traumatic.
And yet the citizens of the US' 4th largest city came together with the most beautiful spirit of giving, helping, & serving I've personally seen!
I attend Woodlands Church (they sell our RSF baskets in their fair trade store, WC Trading Co) & in the days after Harvey, we helped there when they set the church up as a temporary shelter for evacuees. I was impressed with how organized they were. They had Blackhawk helicopters bringing in people with non-emergency medical situations, had doctors & nurses treating people, set up a pharmacy for people who lost their medicines, and air mattresses in the sanctuary with as many blankets, clothes, shoes & toys as families needed. Meals were served, & tables with helpful people were there to help evacuees get FEMA vouchers for hotel rooms. Now that the waters have receded, church volunteers are starting mud-outs: tear down soaked drywall, carpet, and stuff, sorting belongings and cleaning from flooded homes. I've been impressed with their work being the hands & feet of Jesus! Service today was powerful and moving. As Pastor Kerry Shook said, he believed this will be Houston's finest hour.
As a long time resident of Houston, I want to give back. Will you help?
For every RSF basket you buy, I will donate $10 of my personal money to the Woodlands Church Harvey Disaster Relief. For every necklace or small lidded basket, I'll donate $2. So 100% of the basket price will still go to RSF work in Uganda & I'll donate personally above & beyond that! It's a win-win! The Bwindi Batwa still need our help to keep the programs we have started. And I want to contribute to Disaster Relief but to an organization I feel has put their resources and volunteer labor to excellent use.