While most of us will wake up tomorrow and be fortunate enough to live our normal lives, many thousands of people in Texas and along the border near Louisiana are still struggling to pick up the pieces that Hurricane Harvey scattered in its wake.
Hurricane Harvey has now become one of the most devastating natural disasters to hit the United States. While it has broken many records, only time will tell where it will fall in the history books as its effects are still being discovered.
The Storm No One Was Prepared For
It was apparent soon after Harvey entered the Gulf of Mexico that it was a force of nature not to be taken lightly. Once appearing somewhat tame, Harvey’s winds increased from tropical depression strength to a monstrous Category 4 hurricane in just over 48 hours.
Harvey entered what is known as the Texas Coastal Bend and made landfall near Rockport, Texas on August 25, 2017 with 130 mph winds. It was the strongest landfall by a hurricane in terms of pressure since Rita in 2005 and the first time a Category 4 hurricane had a landfall in the U.S. since Hurricane Charley struck the Florida coast in 2004.
Harvey’s expected wrath could not have been any worse. The catastrophic storm was predicted to stall and make a loop in nearly the same path, and expected to hover over the eastern part of the Lone Star state for days.
It was also forecast to accumulate from 35 to 50 inches of rainfall in its wake and unfortunately, those predictions came true for many unprepared and stranded Texans, who were not advised to evacuate in some of the hardest hit areas. To put the deluge of water into perspective, the average yearly rainfall at Houston’s Bush International Airport is 49.76 inches. Much of the area affected by Hurricane Harvey received most of that amount in less than a week’s timeframe.
Harvey Devastated Whole Communities
Harvey’s death toll currently lies at 60 and hundreds are still missing. Most of the deaths occurred in flash floods or roads that were covered in chest-high waters. However, many Harvey-related deaths also come in the form of storm-related complications, such as the loss of live-saving medical equipment that the most medically vulnerable needed to survive.
While Harvey’s ravages didn’t discriminate and affected people from all walks of life, the hardest hit were low income families. The most vulnerable communities of people who face financial tribulations on a daily basis are now having to figure out how to put their lives back together after losing their homes and possessions.
Their basic needs, such as food, water, and shelter, have been ripped from them. Imagine not knowing where your next meal will come from.
It’s time like this, when we must all come together to help those less fortunate. These are the moments in which it really does take a village to help others overcome what might be the fiercest storm in life’s battles that they will ever face.
How You Can Help
Here are five local charities that are highly recommended to help those who need it the most. These charities were helping these communities before the storm hit and will be there helping long after FEMA leaves.
These charities know these communities, are a part of these communities, and love their communities. They are fiscally responsible and every dollar you donate will be used where it’s needed the most and not towards the huge administrative costs that so many big-name charities are known for.
This is a humanitarian crisis that demands all of our help today. Let’s make a difference and do our part. Click on the highlighted links to learn more about each charity and how you can help.
- Houston food bank: This charity earned a perfect score by charitynavigator.org and 96.2% of the any money raised goes directly towards the services it offers. They’ve figured out a way to provide three meals for every dollar donated, and distributed 83,000,000 meals last year!
- Food Bank of Corpus Christi: Another fantastic charity, 94.5% of money raised goes directly to helping victims of poverty. The FBCC services 11 counties in South Texas, has 150 pantries, 27 mobile pantries, and distributes 1,000 backpacks full of food each Friday so kids do not go hungry over the weekend. Each week The Food Bank of Corpus Christi feeds 7,800 people. However, their resources will not last long with the massive influx people needing their help.
- Soup Mobile: Established in 2003 as a grassroots movement to feed the homeless, Soup Mobile’s primary mission is feeding the homeless using mobile food trucks to drive to areas that the homeless are the most populated. This is a small charity with a big heart, and the best of intentions.
- Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church: This local church is partnering with other local churches to organize a meal-packing event to ensure that nonperishable food reaches the flood-affected areas. Their workers are comprised of 100% volunteers, so all of your money will go directly towards feeding the victims.
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston: This church is located in the heart of the devastation. Their mission statement is to help those on the road to recovery and supply emergency needs of food, clothing, & medical supplies. Due to their location, this church will need an influx of donations to keep up with the demand they will be facing.