Hurricane Relief

Kym,


As you well know we in the Houston area have been gearing up for yet another hurricane but now in our area. I will be flying out thursday for the Train the Trainer Training and will have to leave my family behind. Since Katrina did such damage we Houstonions are taking heed to the hard lesson
learned from that dreadful storm and are taking precausions, hopefully early enough.

With all the attention on Hurricane Rita I believe that most of our prople are too busy to send their stories. I have however gotten e-mails from two ASPs and I have my own. Also as we were doing these things it never occurred to us to take pictures, we were just responding to the need, so we
have no pictures. The following is what I have received thus far. I will try to get more for you. One underlying thought that I keep hearing is that the more you do, the more you realize needs to be done.

- Angela Thomas

I worked Medical Unit all day at the Convention Center but we were not allowed cameras. I have worked with families from two hotels with information, toys, clothes and referrals. I have donated two carloads of new and nearly new needed items. We have committed to adopt a family program. We also gathered 4,000 lbs of food with the boy scout troop of our little neighborhood, in one day. I will be further volunteering with medical unit and our church program. I am also assisting another church in preparing a new shelter.

Judy's additional note: I received an e-mail from Angela this week, she had lost her voice and doesn't know from what. Being in the areas she went there is no telling what she was exposed to. This woman has a heart the size of Texas and we are truly "blessed" to have her as our IAHSP president!

Lynn Morgan's Story

I did not do direct volunteer work or invite survivors into our home as my husband Dave asked me to "keep a low profile" so he would not worry. He has been in Norway, Russia and the UK, and won't be home until early October. I had to agree there was no sense in having him "worry" while he trekked
around Siberia. So, I worked through and with my friends in Community Bible Study.

I cleaned out my home and my Staging(R) inventory to provide lots of sheets, a queen bed in a bag, throw rugs, towels, end tables, night stands, a dining room table and four parson's chairs, bar stools, a half-dozen lamps and light bulbs, kitchen utensils (including a complete set of Cuisinart cookware as well as a few odds and ends), can openers, cutlery, stirring and mixing stuff, strainers, and the like. I went through all my stuff and if I had two, I gave away the extra. Then I started on pot holders, place
mats, napkins and accessories. I spent a couple of days getting things together, and as I lived my life, thought about what I was taking for granted or appreciated. Then I dug out my "extras" and added them to the pile. Half the food in my pantry (especially things like baking powder, flavorings, etc.), extra shampoo, oral hygiene products -- stuff like that. When all was said and done, we tied a load into a good sized pickup and completely filled a Suburban -- there was scarcely room for the driver. (I was amazed at how much "stuff" there was!)

Through the combined efforts of several women from CBS, we furnished five apartments for displaced Katrina survivors from Louisiana (not New Orleans) who had lost everything.

I also gathered all the little airline hygiene kits that Dave brings home after circling the globe. I did not count, but ended up with two huge overflowing shopping bags full of kits with razors, tooth brushes and
paste, shampoo, lotion, lip care, etc. You know the stuff. (Now, originally, I didn't think they'd need the eye covers or ear plugs, but sleeping in a shelter...?) All of those went to Katrina survivors.

I don't have any "heart-warming" stories first hand, though I've heard many. However, I can attest to the gratitude of survivors who said they "couldn't believe" the generosity ("These tables are gorgeous!" or "I can't take this!" comments are just a testament to my taste?), or how much they "appreciated the pretty lamps" and the "bright accessories" that helped them feel like they were "living again" in their otherwise sparse accommodations. I was just happy that God gave me a chance to help in this way.

I will ask to see if there are any pictures. But I didn't think about PR when doing my small part. Sorry.

Judy Taylor Story

I live in a resort community on Lake Conroe. We have a high rise hotel located on our property and I understand we had upward of 300 families housed in the early stages of the relief effort. Our community banded together and gathered food, clothing, toiletries and toys for the families that were staying here. They were fed 3 meals a day with volunteers helping to serve food. We also had the task of separating and grouping the clothing that came in and then dispensed the clothing to those in need. After "our" families were clothed the rest of the clothing was boxed up and taken to Houston to the Astrodome for the evacuees there.

Everywhere I go I run into Louisiana families and there are "acts of kindness" stories, one particular is a couple I met this week, they have lost EVERYTHING but the most pressing concern is the fact that her mother has not yet been found and she has finally contacted the coroner to see if see if she drowned. What can you do? I met them at the car wash and then again at Target and I then got the message and realized that I could pray for them. So in the parking lot I prayed for this family, there was not a dry eye. Now we give our attention to Hurricane Rita and my heart does out to these people who
have come here as a refuge only to have to flee again.

Kym, I thank you for your tireless effort you put into this Staging day.

Our original Staging was going to be for the Rag's to Riche's Resale Shop which benefits the Battered Women's Shelter. We will satify that promise to them at a later date and then maybe we can have some pictures. We just need to get past these hurricanes for now. Keep us in your prayers.

- Judy Taylor, ASPM