Hurricane Harvey: Ways to Help + Prepping for NYFW

Hi, Friends!  Ok, sorry…no outfit post today.  I haven’t had a chance to do any shoots with all that’s been going on with Hurricane Harvey, etc.  BUT I have decided I’m still going to New York Fashion Week (NYFW)!!!  I plan to post frequently on the blog while I’m there, so make sure you SUBSCRIBE so you can be notified of all the new posts.   I leave on Wednesday (God willing…the airport is still not fully functional)!! The plan is to do a bit of a travel diary, and take you with me on my trip!!  We’ll see how it goes.  I have been trying to get things together last minute to pack for my trip, but it has not been easy.  Some things have been going my way, like my business cards arrived in the mail on time and I was able to shop for a couple of new pieces for my trip wardrobe.  But the storm really made it difficult for me to even care or get excited about the trip or to even prepare in any way.  More on that below…

So, I didn’t intend to skip my usual blog post on Friday.  I planned to post about Hurricane Harvey and ways to help, but the storm knocked out my internet!  In fact, internet/wifi was not restored in my house until yesterday! I started working on the post on my phone last week, but I never quite got my life together enough to finish it.  But here is what I had to say (this was my mindset last week Thursday):

Man, it’s been a rough couple of days.  I’ve gone through a whole range of emotions – from fear, worry, stress, relief, sadness, pride, guilt, joy…you name it!

To update you from my last post, we did indeed make it through the storm without getting flooded. The rain stopped just in time, so the waters rising around us did not reach the house and are receding.  And for that, I truly thank God!  But some of my friends and much of this area were not so fortunate. Even some of my neighbors’ homes flooded!!  Watching flood waters rise around your house, while the rain refuses to stop is such a helpless feeling.  I was so scared.  And while all that was going on, we mostly had power, so I spent all day watching the news to find out what was happening with the storm.  The news was filled with devastation, boat rescues, bad news about the weather, and so much more.  Watching the news and reading the stories of friends’ evacuations and damage to their homes/belongings and all the fear and uncertainty has been overwhelming.

The bright spots in all of this have been the people.  Seeing people come together from all over the world to help has been amazing. Watching people risk their lives to save others has been truly inspiring…and some have even lost their lives in the process. Even watching all the donations flood in from those that can’t physically help has been awesome!!  And the prayers…so many prayers…I believe they helped quite a bit!

I personally want to give a heartfelt thanks to everyone that called, sent a message, or reached out to me in any way.  It meant so much. During such a stressful time, the messages of prayer and positivity brought me hope.

This is the second time I’ve watched a city that I live in flood in this manner and destroy so many lives.  In 2005, I moved to New Orleans to attend law school.  Two weeks after I moved to New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina hit.  You all know what happened after that.  It was horrible.  At least in that instance, I had evacuated, so I watched the devastation unfold on tv.  It was quite a different experience to be in the middle of it this time and watch the water rise around me instead of just on a tv screen.

For both Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey, my life was filled with uncertainty for a short while, but the outcome was positive. Thank God.  In New Orleans, my apartment was on the 4th floor and had no damage from the storm, but many of my classmates lost everything. I was part of the rebuilding process in New Orleans and get to do it all again for my hometown, Houston. Just like in New Orleans, this will be a long process and things will never be the same for many of us.  I wanted to do a blog post to highlight some ways to help those that will be dealing with the longterm effects of this storm.

Here are some ways you can help:

If you are in Houston (taken from the City of Houston website) :

  1. Individuals. Call 211 (713-685-2300 if out of area). They are coordinating volunteers.
  2. Groups or Individuals. Register at www.volunteerhouston.org (likely the most comprehensive and easiest to use).
  3. Corporations wanting to donate supplies or money (for example, XYZ Corp has truckloads of supplies they want to contribute):
    Please send an email to Norma.Meadows@houstontx.gov and Carlecia.Wright@houstontx.gov with the following information:
    – Name of organization
    – Name of person to call regarding the donation
    – Email of Point of Contact
    – Service provided
  4. Individuals wanting to donate. Harris County & COH JOINT Donations Hotline. 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).  There’s also more information here about dropping off donations, etc. https://www.houstonemergency.org/donations-drop-off/
  5. Medical volunteers. SETRAC website for medical volunteers to register for disaster volunteer ops: https://texasdisastervolunteerregistry.org/

For those of you not in Houston, here are some places you can donate:

  1. Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund established by Mayor Sylvester Turner, who has been doing a great job throughout all of this!
  2.  JJ Watt’s fund for Houston relief (I love JJ Watt so much…he is a treasure)
  3. Houston Food Bank
  4. American Red Cross. I’m not convinced that I really trust the Red Cross after the stories have come out about how they handled the Haiti relief efforts, but I hear that if the money is designated for certain relief efforts, it will go there rather than to help other disasters.  For example, if sending a check, make sure to designate it as for Hurricane Harvey.  Apparently, the Red Cross also has a registry on Amazon of items they need. You can buy them on Amazon, and they will be shipped directly to the Red Cross.  That’s pretty cool.

This list is by no means comprehensive, but I encourage those of you that can to help in any way you can!  Of the donation options, I would definitely go with one of the first three.   In my opinion, those are most likely to get to Houston victims the quickest.   I hope you all have a great week!  Thanks so much for reading!!  Stay tuned for my NYFW posts!!!

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