The outpouring of community support to help fellow Texans in the recovery and healing process after Hurricane Harvey has been huge.
Many local families, churches, businesses and organizations are backing the relief efforts. Here are a few examples of how local people are making a difference.
Grandview lemonade stand
“As my family and I’ve watched the news of Hurricane Harvey beating down on our friends, family and fellow Texans, we have been heartbroken and we wanted to find some way to help those affected,” said Annie Fojtik of Grandview Hills.
Annie, and her husband, Daryl, have two children, Makenna in 2nd grade at Grandview Hills Elementary, and Carter in 6th grade at Four Points Middle School.
The Fojtik kids had been asking all summer to do a lemonade stand and they turned the opportunity into a way to help those in need after the hurricane.
“We built the stand from lumber, painted the banner, bought the supplies, beat the eggs, whipped the batter, etc,” Annie said. They even squeezed lemons for lemonade.
They hosted their stand on Sept. 3 and created a GoFundMe page too to help raise funds for Harvey relief.
“It may not be much in the big picture but for my little kids raising over $1,000 was huge,” Annie said. “All of the profit made will go to support Hurricane Harvey victims.”
“I have been so touched by the generosity of the community in this time of need,” she added.
Assisting Better Living Everywhere (ABLE) volunteers gathered to make fleece blankets for the children of Rockport, Tex. In total, 33 blankets were made, 52 new stuffed animals were purchased, cards were made for first responders, and a generous donation of baby formula was collected for the drive. A local Steiner Ranch resident delivered the items on Sept. 2.
One Austin ABLE youth volunteer said he was involved “to reach out to other kids to help them feel happy.” Another described why she is involved, “blankets give children warmth and helps them to feel cozy.”
Scouts Troop 208
Steiner Ranch Boy Scouts Troop 208 headed down to Rockport, Tex. on Sept. 2 for clean up including Eagle Scouts Jack Lee, Will Kimbell, Jack Rosas, and Blake Birdwell. Scoutmaster Brian Birdwell was part of this group too.
Scouts Troop 454
Boy Scout Troop 454 had 15 scouts and five adults at Tomlinson’s Pet Foods near H-E-B on Sunday. Over an eight hour period, Troop 454 raised $2,900 for Austin Pets Alive and an estimated $4,500 in cleaning goods, hygiene products, toys and water donations, which were delivered directly to Katy, Tex., Troop 230, for distribution to those in need. John Martin, assistant scoutmaster, and John Sarantakes, scoutmaster, were part of the event.
Ann Buchanan, emergency room doctor with St. David’s Medical Center, went to relieve the emergency physicians in her company who had been working for days straight. The relief team worked 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. the day they arrived and Buchanan slept on a stretcher the first night. They worked noon to midnight the next two days. She saw 304 people in the ER one of those days, about 100 people over their normal volume.
Austin Baptist collected storage containers, moving boxes and packing tape to ship to the flooded areas of Houston. The items were delivered to Champion Forest Baptist Church, which was set up as a major resource center for clean-up and relief.
ABC is also collecting gift cards and has collected approximately $10,000 worth so far to give to those in need.
Austin Christian Fellowship
Austin Christian Fellowship’s Disaster Response Team is partnering with state and local officials to organize and operate a Donation Center in Aransas Pass. ACF is collecting an ever-evolving donations for the center, sending response teams into Aransas Pass and Port Aransas for clean out, and preparing to serve evacuees in the Austin area. Find out more at acfellowship.org/respond.
American Red Cross
Steiner Ranch resident Liz Tyndall said,” Some people are called to give and some are called to go.” She is doing both as she works with the American Red Cross to help those in her hometown of Houston. She is heading there this week with supplies and helpers from the area.
“If you cannot go, and would like to help them, you can either write a check to the Red Cross or purchase any items for the rescuers and victims,” Tyndall said.
She also encourages people to share sweet and encouraging notes to those going through this time of rebuilding.
Any new clothes
Kids toys, stuffed animals
Wash clothes, towels
Hair brushes, sunscreen, hand lotion