In light of the recent ongoing natural disaster in Houston, it seems imprudent and insensitive of me to discuss anything other than ways to help those that are hurting. Houston is my hometown, and I am just utterly heartbroken over the devastation that has hit so many residents of this amazing city including many personal friends of mine. As I look out my window at the beautiful sunny day here in Dallas, just four hours north of the city underwater, I am humbled, baffled, and simply compelled to do something. But what? Here are some real and immediate ways we can help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
The easiest and quickest way to make a difference now is to donate money. As my pastor often reminds our congregation, be encouraged that you don’t need to feel responsible for all that is needed but instead just all that God is asking of you to give. Give what you are able. Every little bit helps. With celebrities like Kevin Hart starting the Hurricane Harvey Challenge, which urges celebrities to give $25k each, and JJ Watt starting the Houston Flood Relief Fund, which has raised almost $2 million in just a few days, it is inspiring to see that monetary donations really do add up and can make an impact!
With so many organizations to choose from, it can sometimes be overwhelming and confusing on which one to choose, especially with the concerns on how the funds are used. Here is a great article that lists out several organizations that are taking monetary donations plus a description of what they do.
I personally will be giving my donation to my church which I know is actively partnering with shelters and sending aid to Houston in a very real way. Here is the link to this fundraiser if you are interested: Church Eleven32 Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund OR you can text to give to 84321:“Any Amount” Harvey.
“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.”
Many people may not have the means to give money, but they may have supplies that would be beneficial. Others may just prefer to donate tangible goods vs. money. If you are local to North Dallas, here is a post from my church that shows specific supplies that have been requested.
YOU can help! We want to take TWO trailers full of supplies to people in need. One will go to a shelter in Dallas, and the other will go to Houston later this week.
We are working with the City of Dallas, Dallas County VOAD and Trusted World who are in need of the following items for evacuees:
– Graco Pack ’n Plays (for babies in the shelters to sleep in)
– NEW underwear
– NEW socks
– NEW warms ups (for men, women, children and infants)
– toiletries/ hygiene products
– Baby formula
– Baby wipes
– Diapers (all sizes)
– *Cases of water (there is a HUGE need for water in Houston and surrounding areas)
*The major need for the trailer to Houston is WATER!
If you can bring any of these items to Church Eleven32 from now until Thursday morning at 11am, we will be taking the first trailer to the Dallas shelters on Thursday.
700 Rivercrest Blvd, Allen, Texas.
“‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ ‘The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'”
Note on Donating Goods:
As the effects of this tragedy unfold, new needs will arise. With so many people displaced and left with nothing, I’m sure donations for clothes and goods will be so appreciated. However, this may be something to consider in the upcoming weeks as the initial rescue efforts began to subside and the rebuilding begins. As discussed in the following article, “When disaster relief brings anything but relief,” sometimes donations can cause more problems if the items donated aren’t actually things the people need. I personally will be donating goods to specific families as I hear of needs through social media, family, and friends, and donating money to organizations to try and avoid this predicament.
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
1 John 3:16–18
This may be impractical if you aren’t somewhat in the vicinity of Houston, but if you are close to any of the shelters being set up in Houston or other Texas cities, this may be one way you can give back. For my local readers: as evacuees make their way to the Dallas area, North Texas volunteers will be needed. Sign up as a volunteer at the following link, provided by The City of Dallas or Trusted World: http://www.voly.org/join/index.html or https://trustedworld.org/volunteer-opportunities/.
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.”
Proverbs 3: 27
As a woman of faith, it’s times like these that bring me straight to my knees. I’m sure some reading this may disagree that this is a “real way” to help, but I stand by the Word of God that says otherwise.
Pray for the storm to dissipate, for the rain to stop, for the flooding to subside, and for God to show up in a real and tangible way in this desperate time of trouble.
“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.”
Pray for the peace that passes all understanding to fill the hearts and minds of the residents of Houston and other cities affected.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Pray for God’s strength and provision to be poured out today and in the upcoming weeks for all the people who have lost their homes and belongings.
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
May this time of trouble and duress bring all of us closer together and more importantly cause us to turn our hearts to the Lord and cry out for his mercy and grace.
Love and prayers to South Texas,