August 25, 2017 , is a day that Texans will never forget. It was the day Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast, as a Category 4 storm. That was just the beginning, it has claimed 72 lives so far. The people in the state of Texas, Louisiana, and Florida are still recovering from the damages caused by hurricane Harvey. The flooding caused by hurricane Harvey displaced more than 30,000 people and prompted more than 17,000 rescues.
Houston, which is the fourth largest city in the United States, came to a standstill for a week and experienced huge losses. Four weeks after the hurricane, we are still recovering. Some houses are still flooded, cleaning efforts are still on, people are still displaced and some are still trying to determine the extent of their losses.
Some of us were luckier than others. I was one of them. Though I had to evacuate for a few days following city officials’ orders, I was able to return home that, for the most part, did not feel the impact of the hurricane. My family and I were spared. However, some of my friends were not.
It was heartbreaking to see my Facebook feed full of photographs and updates of friends who were affected by flooding. Some evacuated and some were rescued on a boat, at one point my Facebook feed, local and national news, all looked the same. Adults and children were in a daze. Children, the elderly and the sick were the ones who were impacted the most. I felt especially sad for the children who were victims of this natural disaster. Children were off their routine with schools closed for about two weeks. In addition to that, some saw their living room, furniture, and other belongings being destroyed due to flooding and then they had to be rescued to safety. What was next for them? In such situations, their parents could not answer that question.
As I had mentioned, many of my friends were affected by the storm. Lots of them will be able to recount their stories of devastation, they can take you for a tour of their neighborhoods where people are still cleaning up after the storm. I have seen countless pictures of people leaving their damaged sofa, furniture and other belongings on the driveway.
It is simply heartbreaking to watch this. However, if there’s one thing the hurricane has displayed, it is the endless capacity of kindness and compassion that people in Texas can show towards each other. 17,000 rescues happened because there were more than 17,000 willing volunteers ready to help. Some organizations had to turn away volunteers since there was so much enthusiasm among Texans to help and get the community back to its feet. Hashtags like #HoustonStrong and #TexasStrong were trending for a reason. It was a proof that we as a community are capable of immense kindness towards our neighbors, friends or someone in need.
WAYS TO HELP
This is my first blog post after the hurricane. While thinking of topics for today’s blog, I could not think about anything else that was more relevant. One of the most impactful and devastating weather events we have seen in recent history has also impacted the Bizlatte family.
BizLatte’s co-founder Matt Avery was affected by the storm. Though he and his family are safe, they had to evacuate from their house due to flooding. They are still recovering from the aftermath of Harvey. Matt has been tirelessly working towards cleaning up his property and is also back working.
Help the BizLatte Family
I think it is only fair for me to help raise funds for Matt and his family. A GoFundMe page has been set up for Matt and his family. Please follow the instructions on the link below to donate. We are counting on your kindness to help Matt during this difficult time. The GoFundMe page has more details regarding the entire family’s experience during the flood.
Buy a #HoustonStrong T-shirt
CommonTalk.net (a website run by my friend and myself) is organizing a small-scale fundraiser. We are selling #HoustonStrong t-shirts to raise money for hurricane victims. We will be donating the proceeds to various charities. If you are interested in buying t-shirts please leave a message on this post. I will personally coordinate the t-shirt sale. Proceeds from sales of t-shirts through this website will go towards Matt’s recovery efforts. These t-shirts will be delivered personally in the greater Houston area. Due to shipping challenges and the fundraising goals, these t-shirts are available for sale to anyone in the greater Houston area.
Donate to a Local Charity
If you live outside the Houston area and you’re interested in helping the Houston community, then you can donate to the Houston Mayor’s fund. Click on this link for more information https://ghcf.org/hurricane-relief/.
Many organizations are still in need of volunteers to help with their many ongoing relief efforts (read my article on volunteerism). One of the biggest volunteer-run organizations that comes to mind is the Houston Food Bank. I have volunteered with them in the past, they are very well organized. Otherwise, you can volunteer at your neighborhood church.
Every bit of help counts, and together we are #HoustonStrong and #TexasStrong.
Rinki is a marketing professional with over 10 years of corporate and freelance experience.
She currently works on marketing contracts with Houston area businesses. She has served in non-profit, healthcare, oil and gas, real estate, technology, education and consumer goods industries.
She recently earned her MBA from the University of Houston, BAUER School of Business with a focus in Marketing Analysis and Business Consulting. She also has her Associates in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Houston and Masters in English Literature from Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, India.
She currently serves on two non-profit boards. She is Membership Officer with Prospanica-Houston chapter and Director of Special Events-Marketing with American Marketing Association-Houston chapter. Though Rinki is a now a committed Houstonian, she was born and raised in India.
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