First off, I have electricity, water, and gas utilities in my home. There is some relatively minor water damage, which I’ve told the landlady about (with pictures). The cats are all returned home. I went to market yesterday and got all that was on my list. Last weekend, taking shelter at my daughter’s home, I did spend quite a lot on incidentals that I would not have spent, but thanks to several friends who sent funds to help out during and after the storm, I was still able to place an order for more yarns. And more yarns coming in means there will be more yarns to post on the Blog Reader Specials page, thus enabling an income flow to continue.
Soooo…. bottom line: I’m going to be okay, at a personal, local level.
The rest of the city, on the other hand is in a serious mess. Because of the incredible amount of rainfall (50-55 inches in just a few days from the storm — far more than our annual rainfall, and as much water as flows over Niagara Falls in two week’s time!!) , many of the area reservoirs were threatening to top out and flood neighborhoods around them. To prevent that sort of catastrophe, the city has opted to make a controlled release from these reservoirs (particularly the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs outside Beltway 8 on the West (I’m on the east side, far away from this flooding), which is creating flooding in the homes and businesses downstream. They wanted to release the water in the general direction it is supposed to go, down to the bayous and then out in the channel.
Those homes are now flooding, and the mayor just said that some people are choosing to remain in their homes, even with up to 4-5 feet of water, rather than evacuate and risk looting of their homes. But he also said it will be (WILL be) 10-14 days before the water recedes, and he is urging them to leave now. He’s also reserved the right to order a mandatory evacuation as the situation changes in the coming days.
After Ike, I was without power for 17 days, and many Knitivity friends helped me out. I am personally doing mostly okay and should be fine; I do have some needs and will need to make changes here because of the storm, but I am not in any sort of emergency, so let’s turn our attention to everyone else.
There are several hundred thousand of my closest friends and neighbors in the greater Houston area who need help, with many of them currently taking shelter at the many convention centers and sports facilities in the area.
You can always donate to the American Red Cross — they know how to get the most bang for the buck on supplies to help people.
FEMA is also at the ready to help folks.
JJWatt is raising funds for relief for victims of Hurricane Harvey.
And there’s even a slowly growing fund for those who do not qualify for state or federal assistance — undocumented immigrants who have been living, working, and contributing to the local community, who need help. https://www.youcaring.com/undocumentedsurvivorsofhurricaneharvey-918716
Also, the Houston Food Bank is raising funds to provide for the needs of those who have lost their homes.
I realize some people may have ‘issues’ with these or other agencies, and I’ve heard plenty of “reasons” people can’t or won’t support this agency or that fund-raising effort. I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT. This isn’t a time for political arguments or nitpicking over who ‘deserves’ help or not. It’s a time to offer support to those in need, whatever their circumstance or who they are. I’m only listing a couple of the big efforts here, but you are more than welcome to find some other channel for helping in whatever way you can. Humans helping humans in need during a time of major crisis.
I will say, though, that you please DO NOT start knitting blankets or beanies or whatever with the idea of sending them to an agency to distribute for you. If you personally know someone who needs particular things, feel free to share with them, but relief agencies are NOT set up to handle non-standard items. They know what they need, and they know how to get it for the best price in ways to serve the greatest number of people — blankets, toiletries, basic clothing items, diapers, non-perishable food items. These agencies need money, most of all.
After Hurricane Katrina, I started “Bundle-Up New Orleans” to make and distribute hand-knit hats and scarves for the winter while so many New Orleanians were still in need. It was a woolly-booger trying to find a place to actually distribute all the wonderful projects that were sent. It was well-intentioned but horribly misguided. So please, don’t start TragiCrafting* for the victims of Hurricane Harvey Send money.
Also, I am not going to have a ‘fund-raising effort’ with Knitivity. You know the kind I mean — “I’ll donate __% of sales to hurricane relief.” I don’t need to interject myself into the middle of your generosity, nor do I want to boost sales by tugging at your heartstrings. Why should I send a dollar or two out of your purchase of yarn, when you can skip the yarn this month and send the whole price of the yarn straight to an agency that needs it. (Yes, I really do dislike when a business hopes to make a buck by leveraging someone else’s tragedy in this way — even things like collecting yogurt labels or other such gimmicks.) Thankfully there are many people who can guy yarn AND give to relief efforts. 🙂
*TragiCrafting — knitting and crocheting items intended for victims of tragedy and natural disaster.