wHi there everyone. So strange to be writing a report about Hurricane Harvey relief when I have loved ones hunkering down in Florida for the next hurricane Irma. At the same time to read about an earthquake in Mexico, with possible tsunami waves headed to Nicaragua, where my daughter and her family live by the beach and loved ones by the coast. Then to open my Facebook and read the sorrow expressed from the fires in the northwest. Let’s see, what was I writing about again?
But I am going to do it anyway. Maybe my report can help encourage someone out there or maybe it can educate some that will be soon going through an aftermath of a storm themselves.
We put out the word on FaceBook on Thursday, Aug. 31 that we wanted to go search for the smaller towns that need help and ‘are not on the media radar yet.” A young man, Chris Leos, whom I had met a couple times a few years ago spoke up. He gathered a great crew from his friends and I had a friend of mine volunteer also, Alex George. Here is the crew:
We left San Antonio about 6 am. We had three vehicles loaded with donations. Where would we go? What would we find? I was on Social Media during the 3-hour drive south, asking people what they knew, any suggestions, any contacts. We needed gas! ‘Nope, that station is closed, no, that station is out of gas’…but behold! A truck stop with trucks, trailers, jeeps, cars everywhere and all loaded with donations or a barbeque rig! It gave me chills, honestly, to see so many concerned, loving people – all going to ‘help’, not even knowing exactly what that will mean.
We had been told that towns south of Victoria, about 30 miles from the coast had been hard hit. It was not easy to really know – so much information was coming in. ‘This town needs help, no no they got it, it is this town, go over there…
We ended up first in Bayside. So very sad – so much destruction. But in Bayside, as every town we traveled to, donations were overflowing. People from so many places want to help. But this is the thing: Most people were not back in their houses yet. They will need those clothes, but right now they are thinking of how to get back home. This is what Bayside looked like:
At this point, we were thinking in terms of all the donations we had in our vehicles and it seemed to us to be the first order of business – find who needs it! Bayside did not have many hands on helpers, but lots of stuff. So we drove on.
We ended up in Austwell. This is a charming small bayside community. We spent the rest of the day clearing debris there – talk about hot, sweaty work!! But the locals were very grateful. We also visited with the leaders at the community center. They actually asked us to please not leave our donations with them. They were overflowing and had no place to store anymore. This is what they finally had to do:
This is their Pavilion for community events, parties, etc.
Here are a few photos of us in action. I know that clearing brush is such a small thing, but small things that give hope are mighty big, actually.
And To wrap up this #Harvey Report, I want to give a couple shout-outs.
So much depends on these workers, repairing the electricity. Every time we passed a crew, they had smiles and a tip of the hat for us – but they sure looked tired.
AND A GREAT BIG SHOUT OUT TO ALL THE TEXANS WHO CAME FROM EVERYWHERE PULLING THEIR BARBQUE RIGS, READY TO FEED US ALL. I LOVE TEXAS!!
This is Danny and Sharlene Tate from Robstown, Tx. They were such a blessing – not only their great sausage and fixings but that cold watermelon slice on such a hot day.
Thank you, Danny and Sharlene, thank you Texans for caring and coming, thank you community leaders in all these towns – working and giving and directing, while they themselves were suffering. Thank you MOG crew – you dudes were awesome!
Stay tuned for the next segment – we are going to Port O’Connor Sunday. Planning on repairing a roof of a community leader, clear debris and most importantly – identify a few families to adopt to help them rebuild.
Any contributions to this cause will go 100% to Hurricane Harvey MOG Relief fund. We do not pay salaries and have little overhead and great big hearts.
Read more here and sign up to volunteer: Missions of Grace