It has now been two months since Hurricane Harvey struck Texas. Many of the immediate emergency needs have been met, but long-term needs continue. In the days after the storm an Emergency Operations Center was set up in northwest Houston. The EOC took calls from homeowners in need and sent out work crews to help them. The EOC also received supplies, not only for the workers, but for people who lost many of their household goods.
Now that recovery is winding down, the EOC is offering some of the surplus supplies to community groups that can get them to those in need. These included bedding, paper goods, diapers, cleaning supplies, and toiletries.
One of the receiving organizations was an ad hoc organization, Bear Creek Village Relief, operating out of Bear Creek Elementary School. They are located in a severely impacted neighborhood, that had up to several feet of flood water which required boat rescues. Structures were sitting in flood waters for more than a week leaving severe damage.
Bear Creek Elementary is near the northwest corner of the flooded area of Bear Creek Village. The school took on water and needed floor repair. It also needed water and sewer work, and was closed for six weeks. Local students are back in the school now.
Jeanie Borawski who leads the relief efforts there, lives about a block from the school yet her house was not flooded. She said, “Bear Creek Elementary is a Title 1 school, with more than 85% on food assistance for lunch and breakfast.” She could see there was a severe need for help, even before the water receded.
Borawski and others got permission to use one of the portable classrooms at the school to gather donations and distribute them to people in need in the neighborhood. They have been doing this for several Saturdays and on October 21 received several cartloads of goods from the EOC.
By the end of the month they will need to vacate their ad hoc storage space at the school. They are hoping to find another location and continue helping people in the community. Borawski said they hope to keep going, as part of Bayou City Relief.
On Wednesday they received a significant donation of bedding, as well as paper goods, diapers, soap and anti-bacterial wipes. The EOC provided a second shipment goods to further support their relief efforts. Volunteers helped receive and sort the donated items.
Their plan for distribution is very simple yet very effective. Some of the donated items will be packaged in kit form for each family. The remainder will be offered using a traditional “garage sale” process, but rather than having items for “sale”, they will be offered to those in need at “no cost”. People will be able to just take what they need.
Bear Creek Village Relief services about 300 families, many of whom may not be living comfortably in their homes for several more months. In a simple way they offer hope and support to those still negatively impacted by Hurricane Harvey.