Hello all -
I'm writing briefly today with a heavy, but hopeful heart. My house sustained only minor external damages. We are back in it with additional family who was not so lucky.
My parents had more than four feet of water in their home and had to be rescued by the Cajun Navy. We were finally able to get back to their house today to start clean up. They've lost nearly everything. They were still some of the lucky ones.
I'm sure by now, you have seen news coverage showing homes with only rooftops sticking out of water. The New York Times listed my town of Bridge City as one of the six most highly effected areas in Texas. Houston isn't even on that list. I've shared the article on my facebook page. This disaster has shown some of the best AND the worst of people.
THE BEST - Even people who have lost most of their own possessions are sharing what little they have with their community. Local people who had no damage have opened their homes, hearts, and wallets to those around them. Local chain restaurants and churches have pulled together to get any food and supplies possible to people who are in need. The perfect examples of southern pride and Christian hospitality are giving thousands someone to lean on.
THE WORST - Federally funded relief organizations are barely helping. They make a big show coming in for the cameras, but then turning away help to many in need. I've seen people with pets, children, or seniors turned away. I've seen restaurant owners and churches with food and supplies turned away from being allowed to help because those federal organizations won't get their federal dollars if they can't prove they are using a set amount of money. I've seen them only allow their evacuees to have 2 bottles of water and an MRE a day while people flying in hot meals are being dragged away from the buildings because they are not federally approved supplies. I have seen people leave the shelter to get supplies from those offering them in the parking lots or down the streets, and then being told they are not allowed back in the shelter because the chose leave it for a hot meal. You can search articles and facebook posts on this. I'm not the only one witnessing it.
PLEASE, if you feel moved to donate - find a local charity or church. Lake Charles, Louisiana has many that are supporting Texas. My own church: http://www.tbclc.org/ is one. If you know certified remediation or construction crews, many in this area will soon need help.
Continued prayers and support will be needed and greatly appreciated for a long time.