Ways to Join the Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

But as for me, I am poor and needy;
    come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
    Lord, do not delay. (Psalm 70:5)

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”        (1 Cor. 12:27)

For those who live in the southern states, August has become a dreaded month in which everyone keeps one eye on the first day of school and the other eye on the weather forecast. Several times, the former has been upstaged by the latter, in the form of disastrous hurricanes. As Harvey—good riddance to him—makes his way northeast, the people of south Texas and southwest Louisiana continue to seek and provide rescue, relief, and restoration. Many are fearful, grieving, and now destitute.

But in Texas, which has received both the lion’s share of destruction and news attention, people are living up to the meaning of their state’s Native American name: Tejas means “friend or ally.” Dozens of well-documented stories and photos of rescues by neighbors, friends, and strangers can be found on any news or social media site. The entire National Guard of Texas and its volunteer militia, the State Guard, were called up and are serving as rescuers, shelter security, and more. And let’s not forget the Cajun Navy, a group of outdoorsmen from Louisiana made famous in the 2016 Baton Rouge flood by their heroic initiative to rescue the stranded. They jumped into action for the Houston area within one day of Harvey’s landfall. Friends, indeed.

Below I’ve listed several ways to give, serve, and participate in fundraisers. Go do something!

GIVE:

Directly to your friends in need: The marathon your loved ones just unwillingly began will last months—at least. Bring, send, or ship practical items that your family or friends indicate they need, from clothing to cleaning supplies to furniture to housing to food. Some of it will be short-term but much will need to come at a later date. Don’t forget them next month or at Christmas or next spring. They’ll still be dealing with the aftermath. Consider spending your giving money on specific needs for your specific loved ones.

But remember these reputable organizations with boots on the ground, already serving with plans to stay as long as they can.

Texas Baptist Disaster Relief

The motivation behind the Disaster Relief Ministry of Texas Baptist Men can be summed up in a single phrase: “a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name.” Each year, TBM trains volunteers and coordinates efforts to provide prompt assistance and emergency support during times of disaster. TBM has been involved in disaster relief in Texas and around the world since 1967. The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is one of the largest responders to disasters in the United States.

Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) (a list of orgs)

Pick one or more! The Texas affiliate of National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD),  TXVOAD consists of organizations that have a role in one or more phases of disaster throughout the State, each of whom agrees to adhere to the 4C’s of NVOAD: cooperation, communication, coordination, and collaboration.

Mercy Chefs

This small ministry cooks up restaurant-quality meals for the first responders and then for victims of disasters. They’ve already made it to hard-hit Rockport, TX, on the coast. Donate to help them keep cooking!

SERVE:

Mission Regan
For Dallas-area residents, Mission Regan (a medical mission organization) is organizing and loading supplies to send to the Houston area. For more information go to their Facebook page

Red Cross
Shelters are opening up in the Dallas area. Click for more information on how to volunteer.

Voly

This organization matches DFW-area volunteers with nonprofits needing help.

Show Up

If you are local and able to physically show up to help, read this post from a flood survivor on what truly helps. Do one thing, do one thing each day, do something different each time. But do something.

FUNDRAISERS

James Avery Craftsmen 

100% of the proceeds from the sales of their silver Deep in the Heart of Texas Charm will be donated to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, through September 30, 2017.

Magnolia Market

Chip and Joanna Gaines, in Waco, TX, where they run their Fixer Upper business, are donating proceeds from the sales of their Texas Forever shirts.

 

I’m sure there are numerous fundraising opportunities coming along. Please add them in the comments as you can.

 

‘Grit and Grace: Heroic Women of the Bible’ | A Review

In this children’s book, Caryn Rivadeneira explores the events, personalities, and cultures of more than 15 women of the Bible. Some of them are well-known but some are nameless and obscure. Each, however, has a story worth knowing and one that kids—girls and boys—today need to hear.

Told in the first person, each vignette highlights the way God changed that woman’s life. If you are reading this aloud to your kids, you’ll be surprised into laughing out loud at times. For instance, Leah’s story opens with, “I have a complicated family.” Really? Younger children may not appreciate exactly what is meant by that, but you will!

And since not all biblical stories are rated G (or even PG), such as Rahab, parents will appreciate the sensitive and creative way the author handles those scenes. “My house is a good place to hide,” says Rahab. Yep! Nor are all relationships perfect: my favorite story is Mary and Martha, told through journaling entries from each sister about the other. Both begin with,  “Ugh. My sister is driving me nuts. Again.” Rivadeneira shows how each sister is using the gifts she was given and that, if God is pleased, they should also be pleased to see the other thrive in her specific strength. Something we, and our kids, need to remember as well.

Through a variety of creative viewpoints, Rivadeneira has crafted a smart, engaging book that will encourage children to ask questions, pick up their Bibles for the “official” version, think differently, and pray about the truths they learn. Great for older elementary and tween kids to read alone, and for younger kids to read with an adult.

Grab a copy on Amazon* here. (Christmas is coming!)

 

*Affiliate link. This book was not given to me but purchased because I like Caryn and her writing. I have good taste!