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My heart is breaking for people on the Texas Gulf Coast. As a native of Beaumont, I grew up with hurricane warnings, winds, and flooding in my neighborhood—thankfully never in our house. My husband and I left for other parts of Texas years ago, but all of our extended family remained behind and weathered many tropical storms and hurricanes.

But this has been so much worse. At the same time that Houston began to emerge from the worst of the floods, Beaumont had another 30” of rain and became a virtual island, cut off from all escape except by boat or helicopter. Then this morning the city announced that their water system pumps have failed. Many of my friends and classmates still live in the area and had been already dealing with power outages or flooding.

I so want to help clean out flooded houses or take needed supplies to them. The problem is that if I could get in, it’s likely I can’t get home because we’ve had a panic-induced run on gas in North Texas.

So far I have only helped tangibly with a few supplies for some flood refugees in a nearby hotel and some gift cards for my Houston cousin’s church members with flooded homes. In the meantime I am reading and researching options.

First and foremost, pray. We need to put Harvey victims and towns on our prayer lists for the long haul.

Also give tangibly. Here are some tips for giving:

    • Do NOT send used clothing. Buy only packages of socks and underwear of all sizes for all ages and only if a reputable non-profit or church has checked out the needs and requests it. But even then, only send your best, not your leftovers!
    • Remember the victims and continue to give as you can over the next months or year. This disaster cannot be easily or quickly fixed. Its victims need more than food and shelter for the next few weeks.
    • If you can give to a church local to the situation that is involved in relief, do it. They will be there caring and helping long after the newscasters and national non-profits have left. They are the boots on the ground for the long haul. People with no idea where to give will donate to large agencies like the Salvation Army or Samaritan’s Purse. Instead, contact your church or friends affected by the storm for references of a local church providing help in the area itself.
    • Don’t forget towns outside of greater Houston. There is damage from Corpus to Louisiana, so consider giving directly to smaller areas, or find a group helping all up and down the Gulf Coast.
    • If you can go and help with cleanup, take these supplies needed after floods: https://www.facebook.com/matthewhwilliams/posts/10155780136719756
    • That same Facebook post has a list of practical ways for those nearby to help those dealing with the aftermath of a disaster. (If you can’t get to the post, contact me through this website.)
    • Buy gift cards to restaurants and large stores to send to victims or people in the area whom you trust to give them away to those affected.

This list isn’t exhaustive, so please share what you know, too.

Above all, let’s all pray for guidance as to how to show God’s love through our generous and sacrificial giving.

P.S. I just received a list of some Houston churches to help. Contact me if you want it.

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