This week, the nation has watched as Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on Houston and on the neighboring communities. Thousands of people have been misplaced. Homes and businesses have been destroyed, and the death toll continues to rise. Search and rescue teams from several states, including Missouri, have been deployed to help.
In order to make sure volunteer and donation efforts are the most beneficial for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has put together a list of the most effective ways to help. FEMA discourages donations of unsolicited goods such as used clothing, household items, medicine, or perishable food at this time. Instead, FEMA says cash donations to trusted, reputable, voluntary, or charitable organizations better helps address urgently developing needs. Volunteer agencies and faith-based organizations have more flexibility with cash in hand to buy resources needed immediately. Cash also helps pump money back into the local economy helping businesses recover faster. Blood donations are also needed (http://www.redcross.org/give-blood).
FEMA also suggests going to the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) website for more volunteer options. Additionally, the Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Texas VOAD) has a list of vetted disaster relief organizations providing services to survivors. FEMA wants to remind people not to self-deploy to personally volunteer in the disaster areas. Potential volunteers should instead team up with a charitable organization and one already in Texas to help the victims.
Texas authorities and President Trump appear resolute in their commitment to overcoming this unprecedented event. Individual Texans and Americans from across the land are uniting against the flood waters’ devastation in lives and property. Help if you can, whether in person or via donations.
Patience is key in situations like this. We want to make sure our efforts are safe and that we are meeting the actual needs of the victims. Volunteer efforts won’t end this week. The community will need help for months and years after these waters recede. The recovery period is just now beginning. As this storm moves down the Gulf Coast with additional impact headed toward Louisiana, please keep those victims, families, and workers in your prayers as well.
Thank you for reading this legislative report. You can contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions. Thank you and we welcome your prayers for the proper application of state government.