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How to Help Houston | FAQ Friday

September 1, 2017

Writing today’s post feels pretty surreal. This week’s most asked questions? How is your family and how can I help?

First, I just wanted to say thank you. Your compassion, your care, your efforts to make me smile, and your hearts for service and desire to help are so incredibly humbling. For those that are new to the party, though I was born in Jersey, I was raised in northeastern Houston in a town called Kingwood from the time I was in kindergarten to the time I left for college and still consider it to be home. This week was really really tough. To be honest, I’m feeling a little helpless over here in DC. I could write a novel today, about things I’m feeling, but honestly? That’s not what matters today.

Seeing jet skis and kayaks in your neighbors’ foyers…Facebook statuses asking for help and rescues…pleas for boat pickups…the gym floor where your performed final dance routine junior year of high school, warped and bent…water over front doors…babies in mothers’ arms as they wade though hip deep water? The neighbors helping neighbors, the friends sending supplies, the I am coming in from out of town, what do you need?’s, the hugs and kind hearts? A community trying desperately to get life back to something that resembles normacy? These are things that matter today. Southeastern Texas and my hometown are hurting like crazy, and it is breaking my heart to be so far away.

For today’s FAQ Friday, I wanted to post a little family update today while giving you the skinny on a few resources where you can donate or offer help if you are out of town.

First, thank you for reaching out and asking about my parents and Sophie. They evacuated our home before things got too bad, and I will always be so incredibly thankful for this fact. They’ve been staying with friends down the road, and Sophie (our sweet black lab) has been having a blast with their black lab, Breeze. They’ve been such good pups, and I am so happy that they are all safe and dry.

In full transparency, I have not been home, and I will not be able to get home for months. I truly cannot speak about the damage firsthand, but I can tell you what I have heard from my family. We had about four or five inches of water throughout our first floor, and thankfully, my parents had a bit of time to prepare our furniture and belongings for the rising water. Many important items were moved to the second floor, and my dad placed as many pieces of furniture as he could on paint can risers. {Is this not genius?} Thanks to their great prep efforts, we didn’t lose a whole lot. Our floors will need to be replaced, we lost a few chairs, curtains, rugs, and about two feet of drywall and insulation throughout our first floor. My parents lost a few memory boxes and yearbooks which was a pretty tough discovery for them. Our backyard and my mom’s garden is an absolute nightmare and is still pretty flooded & we literally have fish swimming in our pool, but today, I am feeling pretty darn grateful for the safety of my family, the fact that our house is still standing & the fact that we do have flood insurance. There are so many people that can’t say the same at this time, and I am keeping them in my thoughts and prayers. Our house needs a lot of love, but from what I understand, it could have been so much worse.

This week has, understandably so, been really tough on my parents. To see the home they built from the ground up back in 1999, swallowed up in a big river, cannot be easy. If you have a moment, could you say a quick prayer for their spirits? I cannot even imagine how they are feeling right now and wish more than anything that I could give them the biggest hugs.

So, how can you help?

Remember, it is a marathon not a sprint. 

  • Next week when news reports have shifted, college football season has begun, and the world seems to move on, remember that there are so many people rebuilding their lives. Rebuilding their homes. This cleanup process is going to take years. Homes and businesses are still underwater. People are still in shelters. Schools are still flooded. The city is hurting, but the people are so incredibly resilient. I have zero doubt that Houston will come back stronger than ever before, but they will need your help for far longer than this week. Donations are coming in like crazy this week which is amazing! But, in a few weeks when donations are dwindling, volunteers are back at work, and supplies have been distributed, there will still be people in immediate need. Please continue to keep Texas in your thoughts and prayers. Continue donating. Continue to ask how you can help.

Donate what you can.

  • Find a cause that resonates with you and roll with it.  For my out of town friends wondering how you can help, consider donating what you can and if you can, and spread awareness instead if funds are tight. I’ve compiled a few resources below from articles and friends’ posts online. Feel free to take a look and see if anything catches your heart:

Love your neighbors. 

  • This world is a crazy, crazy place. Make an effort today to make someone smile. Go out of your way to do a little something extra for someone in your life. Whether or not they call Texas home, the world sure could use a little more positivity.

If anything, this week has made me so incredibly proud of my Texan roots. To see the community rally together like this is like nothing I have ever seen before. There are so many people in need, but Texans take care of their own. We will rebuild. Keep praying. Keep your positive thoughts coming. Keep donating if you can. I love you all more than I can express. Thank you so much for your compassion, thoughts, prayers & generosity. 

#Houstonstrong

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