Helping Houston Heal

After experiencing the major devastation that was caused by Hurricane Harvey, I felt obligated to dedicate this week's article to the families, businesses, pets, and belongings affected by the storm.

Before the storm, I can honestly say I didn't see this coming. Since relocating to Houston from Chicago, there have been threats of storms and hurricanes quite frequently; but this one was no threat! Still, I took precautions and purchased water, flashlights, batteries, non-perishables and filled my tank with gas. It rained off and on Friday to Saturday and led most to believe that this was the "storm". Things quickly changed Saturday evening as rain poured heavily without fail.


This was by far nothing I had seen before. I cannot even explain how quickly the water accumulated. In that moment many people were forced to make very serious decisions in only a moment's time. Thankfully my apartment was not affected but at this time my parking lot was not safe for my car and I needed to get it to to higher ground.


It has been a week since the start of the storm and all I can do is be grateful! I am alive and writing this article in MY apartment. I have all the things I had before the storm and it's nobody but God! From checking on friends in town and watching the news and seeing so many horror stories; all I can say is thank you God!

Because I am from the midwest, I have only experienced blizzards and the occasional tornado warnings. This was a totally different animal. Houston is such a huge city and most areas differ in the landscape. Because of that, each area was affected differently. Those in areas near bodies of water, in low valleys, and near bayous were drastically impacted. Most people in those areas had to be evacuated and possibly faced damage to their homes.

But there is more...

After the storm subsided and the water in most areas began to recede, the full flood gates were released which prolonged the city's recovery process. As I write this, things are still not normal. Most grocery stores are not fully stock; Businesses are understaffed due to displaced employees; pharmacies are without medication, and shelters are overflowing! The natural flow of things is quite off.


But still, there is more...

Houston has come together as a city and the nation in total is showing so much support! The amount of donations collected was insane! Many people came from all over to lend volunteer help, to donate water and supplies and give money to charities all over the city.


I had the opportunity of volunteering and witnessing the love and support first hand and my emotions were all over the place. I had an intense connection to the families that I helped because I felt that we could have easily had our situations reversed. The volunteers were eager to help and passionate about each task they were given and there was an unexplainable peace in the air.


As Houston recovers, everyone from everywhere is pitching in. Some franchises are working from one location to allow those that are able to work to do so in unaffected areas; retailers have donated brand new clothing directly to the families in need; Houston Restaurant Weeks has extended their promotions to the end of September to raise more money for Houston Food Bank and some employees have worked overtime to donate their paychecks to their co-workers who were unable to return to work.


In times like these where your world is upside down, kind gestures make all the difference. The recovery process has just begun and it's going to take a lot to get back to life as we know it. I pray that the city will bounce back and become even stronger than before! #HoustonStrong

If you are interested in donating  and helping those affected, here are some great places to start:

Leilani Howell