Assessing long-term needs post Hurricane Harvey

To the clergy and people of the Diocese of West Texas, September 5, 2017: As we move into the long-term recovery phase in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, please know that monetary donations are the best method to help. These donated funds allow those we are helping to buy exactly what they need, and in turn, it helps the local economy recover.

You can continue donating online at www.dwtx.org/disaster-response.

As the need for specific items arises, we will communicate that through the clergy and church office email lists. As you organize your church's response to these needs, please keep these things in mind:

volunteers-porta-johndemontel.jpgFirst and foremost, we appreciate that the response comes from the heart. We all want to respond to those in need, and thus far, the response of the Diocese of West Texas has been amazing. But we have to keep our brains engaged, as well.  

Gather only what is on the list of specific items needed. Please don’t think you know more than those on the ground or know of other products that would supplement your donation. For example, the people in the hardest hit communities are asking for vinegar, but this doesn’t mean they need olive oil, too. (Vinegar goes with hydrogen peroxide to help with mold clean up.)

Think reasonable numbers. If rolls of Duct Tape are requested, and each church in our diocese sends 100 rolls, that equals over 8,000 rolls of Duct Tape. While Duct Tape is very useful for many things, remember that there isn’t a place to store a lot of materials in the communities. And, when each community's stores re-open, the people will be able to buy Duct Tape there (remember to assist with monetary donations), and we need to allow the local economies to get back up and running.  

Make note of the timeliness factor. Each needs communication will include a time frame: immediately (1-3 days), urgent (within a week), or ongoing. They need Duct Tape now to help secure tarps and the like but six months from now, probably not so much.  

We are not the only ones responding. As much as we like to think our efforts are irreplaceable, that just isn’t the case.  As we are sending our 8,000 rolls of Duct Tape, so is every other organization who is helping in the area. Imagine 800,000 rolls of Duct Tape in one place.

Communicate what you are doing. If your church wants to be the Duct Tape angel, let me know and I’ll send that out so no one else buy Duct Tape to send. We are all in this together, and we work best when we communicate and let each other know what we are doing.  

Do not (ever) send used household good or clothes. Please, this is not what the people need.

God's peace,
The Rev. Nancy Springer
210-382-1195, nspringer@staec.org