Nashville is my home, but Texas is where I was born and raised. Most of my family and countless friends live there, so the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey is deeply personal and heartbreaking. Seeing the floods on TV may not seem real, but hearing from friends that have lost everything and rejoicing with those who escaped the floods - that makes it real to me.
I know there are many tragedies today; there's flooding in South Asia and fires in Montana, just to begin with, but right now, my heart is in Texas.
I also have a deep faith in God and prayer. I think a lot can be accomplished by prayer, but God also calls us to act.
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me..." Matthew 25:35-36
But how can we act? What can we do?
Here are the organizations that are on the ground that I choose to support:
Undies for Everyone has an Amazon wishlist (really can't get easier than that).
Or you can collect new, packaged underwear and mail it to the address below. Houston's local Hillel is collecting the items for UFE. Hanes or Fruit of the Loom are recommended!
Undies for Everyone
1700 Bissonnet St.
Houston, TX 77005
"Violence unmakes the world, but preemptive love has the power to unmake violence. We bring relief to families fleeing war in Syria and Iraq. We help refugees rebuild their lives. And we provide lifesaving medical care for children in conflict zones."
Preemptive Love Coalition is mostly focused in the Middle East, but their home base is in Houston. These are dear friends of mine and they have staff on the ground in Houston, working with Christian and Muslim leaders, and first responders, to identify the greatest needs for now and for the future.
You can donate here and 100% will go straight to their Harvey efforts: https://preemptivelove.gift/harvey/
Texas Diaper Bank also has an Amazon wishlist!
You can give online or you can mail donations to:
The Texas Diaper Bank
5415 Bandera Road Suite 504
San Antonio, TX 78238
Convoy of Hope was on the ground the day that Hurricane Harvey hit. They were ready before this disaster reached the magnitude that it currently is. They have been and will continue to serve all of the areas affected. You can give donations on their website, or if you are in the area, you can volunteer to help with distribution and for later recovery efforts.
There are so many options, these are just a few of my top choices.
NPR also has an amazing list of options, with all of the major food banks in the areas that have been hit. Find what means something to you, find a way to make it personal and give there.
JJ Watt has set up a Houston Relief Fund that has reached across the celebrity world: https://www.youcaring.com/victimsofhurricaneharvey-915053
Our church, Church of the City, is collecting donations in Franklin, TN and coordinating volunteers for rebuilding efforts in the near future. We have partnered with a Houston area church for these efforts.
There are also many shirts proclaiming "Houston Strong" and "Texas Strong" that you can buy. It's not just a sentiment, it's reality - they are strong. They will recover from this. One day I may take my daughter to Mustang Island and show her where I vacationed with my grandparents, or we will go visit our friends in Houston and experience their resilience firsthand. I'm dying for a slice of pie from House of Pies as it is!