As the news reports continue to come in and people hear from friends and family members who are being affected by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, many of us are asking this question: What can I do to help in Texas?
Here are three things I am doing that I’d ask you to do with me:
1) PRAY. There are people who are still at risk and in danger with much more potential for rain and damage over the next several days. My prayers today have looked something like this:
God, I don’t understand the hows and whys in times and situations like this, but I pray for the rain to stop. I pray that through your power and with the help of your Spirit you’ll send rescuers to the people who need to be rescued and provide safe places for people who don’t have anywhere to go. I pray that you will comfort the people who’ve lost everything. I pray that you will bring out the best in people in the worst of situations. I pray that you’ll fill the Church with the courage and the strength and the passion to rise up and be your people, to be the comforting, rescuing, healing, loving, serving hands and feet of Jesus to people who are in need. I pray for those of us who are sitting in dry homes and offices and schools today, that you’ll help us respond in ways that share your love and concern with the people who are scared and hurting and lost and in danger. Help us to be your people. Amen.
2) PREPARE. While most of us can’t physically be present right now to help, we can prepare to be helpful in the recovery and clean-up efforts when they begin. We are assembling disaster recovery buckets at our church and will send them for distribution in Texas to aid in clean-up. These buckets, when filled, contain essential supplies that will help individuals and families when they return to their homes and businesses once the floodwaters recede. This is a tangible and very helpful way that we can be involved in efforts to respond. For instructions on how you can join us in our effort to fill these buckets, or to learn more about our effort, please click here. If you are local, you may return filled buckets to The Village on either Sunday, September 3 or Sunday, September 10.
3) GIVE. We have set up a text to give through The Village in order to send support directly to those responding in the affected areas. Simply text 28950 with the word iRespond and any dollar amount that you would like to give. (For example, text iRespond 50 to 28950 for a $50 donation.) You may also write a check to The Village and write “Hurricane Response” in the memo line if you would prefer to give in that way. 100% of what’s given through this will be sent directly to our partners in the affected areas.
If you would prefer, you may give directly to UMCOR, an organization that works with local churches in the affected area for long-term relief and recovery work. 100% of giving to UMCOR goes to the efforts on the ground. Click here to donate directly to UMCOR.
Our church is in partnership with the Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, which has over 1000 churches either directly affected by this storm or in the surrounding areas. Many of these churches have already been turned into shelters and more will become response outposts and recovery centers once the floodwaters recede. Because of our partnership, we are able to give directly to community organizations and churches that are already on the ground in the affected areas, and we will continue to look for opportunities to partner with them and serve in their recovery efforts.
This is an opportunity for us as people to be at our best, and I hope we will all take full advantage of that opportunity.