Harvey in Review: Immediate Volunteering

We were so very blessed to escape the wrath of Hurricane Harvey unscathed - no flooding or water damage in our home...unlike sooo many of our friends & neighbors. As soon as the flood waters of Buffalo Bayou receded enough for us to get out of our neighborhood section on Tuesday, we did:

•Tuesday, August 29th: I *finally* feel less helpless! Buffalo Bayou by our house is back down under the road, and our church was able to open for donations & to coordinate host families for evacuees waiting for somewhere to go; so Annelise & I went to take a load of donations and to volunteer. We got to carry literally hundreds of pounds of clothes, food, diapers, towels, & bedding upstairs for sorting; I kept hauling in as many cases of donated water as I could = better than going to the gym!!! It did my heart SO GOOD to see such an outpouring of love, all God's people coming together, and esp to get to see a number of precious friends dropping off!!! Annelise spent her last hour in the bedding room, piling pillows & blankets to the ceiling.
As we left our shift, BLUE SKY!!! It was almost blinding... #godblesstexas #godblesskaty #houstonstrong #ilovemytown

We went back, again, and took Will with us until midnight! (Well, almost midnight, so we wouldn't break curfew.)

•Wednesday, August 30th: I actually didn't post a personal update this day. I was too busy getting word out across social media when we got home from volunteering about our operation:


*ANYONE* who has been displaced or experienced loss, OR who is HOSTING anyone who was evacuated: COME GET FREE SUPPLIES AT The Fellowship!!! Even if your shelter/housing situation is all set, still come to us & get free items to hold you over: clothes, shoes, blankets, pillows, towels, toiletries, feminine hygiene products, detergent, food, diapers & baby items, almost anything you could need! Even for fur babies: we have crates, kennels, dog treats, bags of dog food, & cat food, as well!

DO NOT think: "It's ok, I won't take what someone else may need more." I have been here the last two days organizing more donations than you can possibly fathom!!! There is MORE THAN ENOUGH for YOU & EVERYONE else who may need anything. Don't hesitate - it's a blessing to *us* for you to receive these things, so we have room to bring in more waiting donations. COME AND TAKE IT!!!


In addition to the free "store" we set up, our church was also a placement facility for evacuees. We had ~500 families in our community fill out a form & sign up to be host homes. Evacuees in need of housing would come in, talk to our staff about their requirements (how many people, pets or no, special needs) and then we matched them up with the best fit host home. The host family would come and pick them up from the church, along with all of their free "shopping". It was miraculous in action!!!

During the day Wednesday, while we were volunteering, there was actually a deadly case of road rage that happened literally in front of our church while we were there. Two of our volunteers ran out & did CPR until emergency responders could take him to the hospital. The shooter was in custody immediately; we had tons of National Guard in our parking lot. The man died at the hospital. It was at that point that the gravity of the situation truly hit re: the toll the stress of the devastation all around us was taking on everyone. (The kids weren't freaked, but we parents were rocked to our core. We stopped everything for a few minutes & had a prayer break to refocus.)

Needless to say, between that and seeing all the people who had lived right around us now needing shelter & who had lost almost everything, it was a highly emotional day...

•Thursday, August 31st: Volunteering Day 3 at church!!! Yesterday was emotional heavy lifting; today was back to *physical* heavy lifting!!! Beast mode in full effect! I loooved carrying literally THOUSANDS of pounds of water, diapers, wipes, detergent, cleaner, clothing, towels, formula, feminine supplies, pet supplies, etc. from our donation holding areas into the Life Center, where ANYONE in need can "shop" & take them for free! SOOO SATISFYING (& so much more productive than weights at the gym! :-D) The National Guardsmen kept trying to "help" lighten my loads, but finally gave up & just respected my "workout" with big smiles. ❤️ (Yes, my arms are officially wrecked!) My quick pics barely scratch the surface - my arm is too short to capture the walls of 10x more diapers & water behind me!!! #glorious #generosity
Another powerful day of my AMAZING community coming together *with joy* to help each other!!! #katystrong #hoUSton #godblesstexas #ilovemytown [Happy personal side note: bubble tea opened back up, so Annelise & I stopped for Kim's Tea House's Hurricane Harvey Relief Fundraiser on the way home!]

A screenshot of the news I wanted to remember, along with truth posted by a friend:

Thursday night, I took the time to get some lingering thoughts out. They really resonated - so many people shared what I wrote...

Random life notes before bed:
*No one here has any clue what day it is. (Literally, no one knows: Monday? Friday? They mean absolutely nothing right now.)
*Hearing constant military helicopters is now normal.
*Tonight was the first time in a full week that the main networks broadcast prime time TV instead of 24/7 solid disaster coverage.
*We have no mail service & haven't since last weekend.
*Our schools are all closed now until *at least* Sept. 11th.
*Yes, the flood waters are still causing NEW evacuations here, less than 3 miles away. No, our house will absolutely NOT be affected, but many of our friends are.
*It's hard to disconnect & actually go to bed, b/c with every last check, there's another request for help or need for friendly response. Also, while being completely ripped out of "normal", you continuously scan FB for glimpses of your friends, just to keep constantly checking on them.

Stay tuned for more amazing aftermath stories. I have some...


  1. Thanks so much for your sharing your perspective here!! So wonderful to hear from someone on the ground there - and love seeing all the generosity and hope that was given for the flood victims!

  2. What a horrible thing to see! And aren't the people in our area amazing!


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