I’ve contact some of my friends who serve in various churches in the Houston area, first to make sure they were okay and second to find out what we as Tapestry can do to help. As I paraphrased Shakespeare to my friend J.T. (blessed be his name) “Tapestry may be small but we are fierce”. In other words, we may be a small church but we give wonderfully.
Thus far the pastors I have messaged have said they are in the rescue phase and what they really need are boats and places for people to stay after they were rescued. The rebuilding won’t begin till the waters recede. Therefore, my number one recommendation is still that you give through the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief agency. You can do that here (https://missionaries.namb.net/projects/full/hurricane-harvey-response). When you give to the SBDR you will be providing immediate help as well as resources later on. The SBDR will stay in the area for a long while and will feed a ton of people. In addition, they will help with mudout work, chainsaw crews, laundry facilities, shower trailers and more. If you are interested the Minnesota/Wisconsin Baptist Convention (of which we are a part) is already planning on sending some SBDR groups down. Some of us have been trained by the SBDR and more of us can be for the future.
Next I am going to recommend that a list some local organizations. Giving local is a great avenue because the local groups will be there once the immediate emergency need recedes. The national groups will leave. The local groups won’t. These local groups are the ones who will be dealing with the long term repercussions of the flooding.
Here’s the list”
Galveston County Food Bank: http://www.galvestoncountyfoodbank.org/
Corpus Christi Food Bank: http://www.foodbankcc.com/
Houston Food Bank: http://www.houstonfoodbank.org/donate/
Texas Diaper Bank: http://www.texasdiaperbank.org/
Austin Pets Alive is a no-kill shelter taking in Harvey pets: https://www.austinpetsalive.org/hurricane-harvey-evacuatio…/
Portlight is a local grassroots organization that provides disaster aid to the disabled specifically: http://www.portlight.org/home.html
The Coalition for the Homeless is an umbrella organization coordinating shelters and orgs across the city: https://www.homelesshouston.org/take-action/donate/
Some of these local groups will begin to put out wishlists of what they need. When I see them I will post them. If you see any please pass them on to me.
Let me end with a plea to not give to just anyone who calls you. It saddens me to acknowledge the fact that when some are in serious need there are others who just see the need as an opportunity for their scams. There are going to be people who use the misery of the people of the Houston area as an opportunity to scam those who like to help people in need. Don’t give money to groups you don’t know or ot that isn’t recommend to you by someone one you trust. There are phone calls and emails going out now pleading for money to help Houston, and some of phone calls and emails are just scammers taking advantage of the fact that we like to help our fellow human when we see genuine need. Don’t stop helping, but be wise. Never let the scammers keep you from giving because it is better to be scammed than to turn your back on a genuine need. Still I would rather our money and resources go to the right places so be smart. Gentle as doves and wise as serpents.
The Tapestry Leadership Team will be discussing what we can do as an organization, but there is no need for you to wait on us. Give and give well … my small but fierce friends. :)