Hurricane Harvey Report to the Congregation

Hurricane Harvey Report

Hurricane Harvey…a year later

While the figures are staggering, they are both real and personal. Almost everyone in our church knew someone affected or had visited the areas that were devastated.

  • 50 inches of rainfall in Houston beginning Aug 25, 2017
  • 30,000+ people fled to temporary shelters
  • 10,000 rescue missions
  • 8 million cubic yards of garbage in Houston alone
  • 185,000 homes were damaged and 9,000 destroyed
  • $125 billion in damage

UMCOR Emergency Response Teams that went to the Gulf Coast

  • 49 Teams
  • Volunteers 333
  • 450+ Survivors Assisted
  • 8300 Volunteer Hours

Volunteers in Mission

  • 30 Teams
  • 570 Volunteers
  • 50+ Survivors Assisted
  • 18500+ Volunteer Hours

Total value of volunteer time: $661,692

Our First Church Response

We would like to thank the congregation for the wonderful support of those people who suffered so much with Hurricane Harvey. Almost as soon as the hurricane hit, the church collected $63,825.89. We purchased the supplies for 500 flood buckets ($22,423) and 780 hygiene kits ($4,461). Additional supplies were donated. Many people responded to assemble them. But we discovered almost immediately that beyond the flood buckets and hygiene kits, people needed people to respond. There were just no workers available and the people who most needed help were the poor, the old, and the disabled.

So what did we do? How did we spend the money that was donated?

First of all, you need trained people.
United Methodists are very methodical so we have a requirement from UMCOR that participants must be trained. We held a training session and 32 people were trained at our church to be Emergency Responders.

How will we transport tools and supplies to disaster areas and supply depots?
We bought a trailer: Trailer: $6,863.

We need tools to work in disaster areas and those tools must be organized.
We bought tools and materials: $3,768. Our United Methodist Men installed holders and racks for the trailer.

How far was it to medical help when everything was lying in ruins?
We bought some emergency first aid supplies in case of injury…tourniquets, burn medication, emergency bag, etc.

How do we transport the trailer?
Dallas Yenawine deserves the heartfelt thanks of the whole church for always pulling our trailer to the sites. We reimbursed him for gas.

15 people from our church have responded as ERT volunteers
We made seven trips to the area. Team members paid their own expenses.

Our students wanted to help. They needed funding.
We funded the High School Mission Trip $2,400.

  • # of Participants: 70 youth and adults
  • Hours served: 560 hours
  • Sheet rocked and cleaned up debris in 4 homes
  • People served: 8 families

We funded the Middle School Mission Trip $3000.

  • #of Participants: 49 youth and adults
  • Hours served: 1,568 hours in home and yard restoration, including debris removal
  • 12 families assisted

We have spent $43, 977 to date.

Who is left that needs help?

The poor, the elderly, the disabled often cannot do their own repair work. They lack the money or expertise, or both. The homes that are in good shape now were owned by people with resources to get the job done. Many people lost not only their homes but also their jobs.

What kind of training do you need to serve?
We always need ERT volunteers, but we are now at the stage that many can help, even without the formal ERT training. Painting, yard cleanup, and other tasks allow anyone to help.

When will you go again?
We have several dates coming up for continued response. Generally, we drive down on Thursday evening and return after breakfast on Sunday. Some volunteers cannot come until after work on Fridays. We have four disaster response work weekends coming up:

  • September 27-30
  • October 11-14
  • November 8-11
  • December 27-30

Where would we stay?
The First United Methodist Church in Victoria continues to offer us places to stay and the use of their kitchen. They can house up to 61 people in bunk beds. Couples who can bring a blow-up bed may be provided rooms. They can accommodate up to 3 couples. The volunteers give the church $10 per person to defray the cost of housing.

How do we clean up?
A trailer that houses both a men’s and women’s side with 2 showers each was purchased by the California Pacific Conference and loaned to First United Methodist Church Victoria. It also contains laundry facilities.

How will we eat?
Volunteers provide food for the trip…sandwiches, casseroles, desserts. Can you help?
We can also prepare meals in the church kitchen in Victoria.

For the size of our church the money donated was great. Well done, faithful servants. However, our physical response is lacking and we are dwarfed by the numbers from smaller churches around us. Please go with us!

If you have questions you may contact:

  • Dave Scott at txgolfersall@gmail.com or 512.413.7920
  • Trisha Seguin tseguin@austin.rr.com or 512.940.2567
  • Jim Ruth.@pjruth2@gmail.com or 512.944.5323