Our televisions, social media feeds, and conversations have been filled with stories from Hurricane Harvey. The devastating destruction through Texas and Louisiana is tragic. Historic amounts of rainfall have led to widespread flooding up and down the eastern coast of Texas. Hundreds of thousands of people have been impacted by the storm. Many have suffered significant loss. Sadly, the rain is still falling and we will not know the full impact Harvey for quite some time.
You may be asking yourself, “How can I help?” or, “How can my church help?”
Many people want be helpful and gather resource to send to where the disaster has hit. Gathering clothes, water, food, or other physical items is not as helpful as it might seem. During the response from a major disaster like this there is often nowhere to store the goods, no one to sort them, and no way to distribute them. Because of this, a majority of these goods are wasted, recycled, or thrown away. Other people get in their vehicles and go to the disaster site without being affiliated with a reputable disaster agency. They just show up on the site and expect to be put to work. This causes many problems ranging from liability concerns to having to manage spontaneous volunteers. The Texas VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) and Louisiana VOAD are organizing the efforts to collaboratively have the agencies involved communicate and work together. This communication if vital to making a smooth and effective response and recovery. Both of these examples are done with good intentions and by people who want to help. Unfortunately, donated goods and spontaneous volunteers usually cause more problems for the agencies and local affiliates who are actively responding.
Although LFCS is not directly involved in the Harvey Response, many of our partner agencies, such as Upbring and Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR), have boots on the ground in Texas and Louisiana. We would ask that you join us in prayer for these affiliates, the residents, first-responders, and other volunteers across Texas and Louisiana. Pray for all the work that is still to come.
As the rain stops and the water recedes, we will get a clearer picture of what the need is in Texas and Louisiana. Please be on the lookout for more information from LFCS about the storm in the coming weeks.
Lutheran Disaster Response
Director of LDR, Rev. Michael Stadie, reminds us about the emotional toll this storm is having on those who have previously been impacted by hurricanes during the last week of August in the Gulf of Mexico (Katrina in 2005 and Isaac in 2012) in his blog post from this week. See more from LDR’s website to see how they are gearing up to respond.