Please share! Two of my Austin friends have set up GoFundMe campaigns after Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas gulf coast, and I want to spread the word. The need in Texas is great. However you can help, it’s much appreciated.
Barbara Newitt grew up in Houston, and her 90-year-old mother and her two sisters still live there, together, whereas Barb has been in Austin for decades.
Her mom and sisters lived a block from Buffalo Bayou, a major waterway in central Houston. Their home was flooded. After a medical emergency, four policemen came to evacuate them, somehow got a boat, and the mom, Lydia, was taken to a hospital. One daughter stayed with her. The other daughter was taken to a public shelter.
They had no homeowner’s insurance. The water was four feet high. They literally got out with the (wet) clothes on their backs.
Lydia has been dismissed from the hospital, and she and the daughter with her were sent to a different shelter from the other daughter. They don’t have smart phones, so communication is intermittent. We do know they’ve talked to social workers who are filing FEMA claims and trying to get the three of them reunited. They won’t be able to get back in their home to see if anything is salvageable until at least next week, and there probably won’t be much. No one without a boat (or a horse, or a helicopter) is able to get into Houston at present.
These three woman live on Social Security as their sole source of income. They will need a new home and basic necessities to set up housekeeping: food, personal care items, cooking gear, beds, things like that.
If you can help, all donations go toward helping them get re-established after Harvey. Barbara’s GoFundMe page is here: https://www.gofundme.com/homeforlydia. Prayers are welcome too.
My friend Amanda Lee has long been someone I admire. She is a long-time professional humanitarian worker who has responded to crises around the world: after wars, earthquakes, tsunamis, Ebola outbreaks, and more. She’s worked for Americares, Doctors Without Borders, and other international humanitarian agencies all over the world. She provides mental health and psychological and social support for crisis care staff and crisis victims alike. Her impressive CV is here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/leeamanda/.
Although Austin is home base for Amanda, her hometown is Houston.
Amanda has set up a GoFundMe page so she and others can organize outreach and a hotline for Harvey first responders who need counseling. Everyone knows that first responders do everything they can to save lives in times of crisis, and they are subject to burnout and traumatization from what they have experienced. This is helping the helpers, a deeply needed task.
Amanda’s got the chops to make this happen, folks, with your help. She’s looking for two things:
- financial donations (click https://www.gofundme.com/harveycrisisrelief)
- mental health professionals to provide counseling on a volunteer basis (application here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeqkD4VoCR_0P8gcNIo9y37Al4CAAjnT4WeFwwzfcQsjOdBEg/viewform)
Austin update: We had steady rain and winds for three days in Austin from Harvey. A garden bin 13″ deep overflowed, so we got at least that much rain. Augusts in Austin are typically quite hot and dry, with deep cracks in the soil, so the ground absorbed much of the rain. Some low-water crossings were closed, but amazingly we had no serious flooding in Austin.