I originally had a different post scheduled for today, our gender reveal in fact, but in light of everything that's happened across the Texas coast the past few days it just didn't feel right sharing happy news when so many are suffering. I can't begin to explain to you the complete devastation our city of Houston has been through the past 72 hours- everything you've seen on the news is our reality and while Zach, Bear, and I are incredibly lucky to be safe in our home, so many of our friends and fellow Houstonians cannot say the same. We have countless friends who have had to evacuate their homes, many being rescued by boat with young children, and others who are currently in their attics waiting out the storm due to rising waters inside their homes. We have friends who are hundreds of miles away, safe from the storm yet fearful that everything they have has been completely washed away. We have friends who have lost their pets in the flooding, and friends who have lost their homes completely. The tragedy is immeasurable and what's terrifying is that there's no end in sight.
A post was going viral on Facebook yesterday that puts it all in perspective:
For my non-Houston friends- to help you understand the devastation:
Houston is huge.
The greater metropolitan area is circled by the Grand Parkway – which is 170 miles long. That makes the area of the circle inside the Grand Parkway over 2200 sq. miles.
2200 square miles of densely habited, urban and suburban, areas is flooded.
Imagine if the entire state of Delaware, with twice the population of Manhattan, was under water.
It’s still raining.
Stay strong, Texas.
Zach saw on the news last night that Gringo's Tex Mex several miles from our house would be used as a boating dock/rescue center today so he got up early this morning and went to help. Bear and I went back with him later, when we knew the roads were safe, taking every extra towel we could find in our house and packs of bottled water for those being rescued. It was heartbreaking to see so many people sitting outside in the rain, waiting on someone to take them to a shelter as their homes continue to flood. Many of them were elderly, saying they'd lived in their neighborhood for over 50 years and have never seen anything like this. Most have nowhere to go but shelters and had to leave all of their belongings behind. Seeing the evacuees faces, how happy they were to be safe and out of danger, really hit home just how little physical possessions actually matter. It's our safety, the safety of our family and loved ones, that is everything. Without that, nothing else matters.
Should you feel inclined to help in any way with rescue efforts, there are several ways to do so.
UMCOR- 100% of every penny given goes straight to relief support. Donate here.
The Red Cross- Apple has made it easy to donate through The Red Cross here.
You can also donate via text by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief (added to your phone bill).
JJ Watt Flood Relief Fund- Donate here (already over $750k raised).
United Way- Text UWFLOOD to 41444 to donate to the United Way Flood Relief Fund.
Salvation Army- Donate here to assist in recovery efforts.
Local Food Bank- Affected areas include Houston Food Bank, Galveston County Food Bank, Corpus Christi Food Bank, Southeast Texas Food Bank, and more. They recommend contacting a food bank directly about their needs and what you can do- find your closest one here.
Volunteer- The Red Cross is in urgent need of volunteers. If you feel called to do so, you can fill out the form and find more information here. Volunteer Houston has also launched a virtual Volunteer Reception Center to aid non-profits and agencies in finding and deploying people to hard-site areas. Click here to help.
Visit your local H-E-B- Grocery chain H-E-B plans to donate $100,000 toward Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. On Monday, all H-E-B, Central Market and Joe V's Smart Shop stores across Texas launched a statewide tear pad campaign, giving customers an opportunity to support victims through donations of $1, $3, or $5, which can be added to their total grocery bill.
We also want to thank everyone who's reached out to check in on us over the past several days- the outpouring of concern and love has been overwhelming and we are so grateful. As we continue to see the heartbreaking destruction first-hand, it's hard not to feel afraid and fearful for our city and state. But standing in that Gringo's parking lot today, seeing dozens of volunteers pulling people out of boats with hundreds of others in the thick of it, saving people from their flooding homes, I can't begin to explain the immense warmth that I felt. Many of the volunteers drove in from all across the state and Louisiana, arriving in the middle of the night and sleeping in gas station parking lots before showing up at sunrise to assist in rescue efforts. They've stood in chest deep water all day and they won't stop until they've helped every last person and animal they can. It's unbelievable, the heroism Houston is witnessing by so many selfless individuals just wanting to help in any way they're able. If ever you've lost faith in the good of humanity, I promise you there are still lots of good people left in this world. And thank you, God, for sending so many of them to Houston.
Please continue to pray for our city and all of Texas as the rain continues to fall. While prayer and donations may be all we can do, both are huge in helping so many who have lost so much. Together, we will stay #TexasStrong.