Hurricane Harvey- guest post

I want to share a specific story with you from my dear friend Becki Griffin of Curious Details.  Y’all have heard me talk of Becki often, she is a Houston area stylist and photographer and works with amazing people including Country Living and others. She has been a creative force in my life and also a true friend in hard times. Becki is also the funniest and most down to earth person I know!  She is a bona fide true East Texas girl.  Y’all, her sister and parents have directly been touched by the flood waters of Hurricane Harvey and I have asked her to share her sister Suzette’s story here. Suzette is a servant in every sense of the word, literally her job is youth ministry at her church in Vidor, Texas near Beaumont, but it isn’t just her job she lives her entire life that way. She is the type of person who would love to be coordinating meals for people and shoveling mud out of people’s homes right now. But sometimes people like Suzette and her family are the ones hurting and need help too but they don’t want to have attention or light shined on them and their need….but Becki insisted that Suzette allow her to set up a Gofundme campaign for their family need and tell their story.  Sisters are amazing that way!  I can just imagine Becki saying to her “look this is gonna happen so just accept it;” Oh to have such a sister and love!  Thank you Becki for letting me share with my readers Suzette’s story that represents one of thousands and the specific needs of her family.

I continue to encourage everyone to give online if you can to organizations such as Samaritans Purse and the  JJ Watt charity, as well as some smaller more localized church efforts that locals recommend and trust including Christ Community Church and Bayou City Fellowship.  I am working on a permanent page here with more info and links in one spot, including Amazon wish lists for local charities and specific families I know of . . . Until then you can donate directly to Becki’s family here.

 
Hi this is Becki,
 
My sister Suzette has served as a children’s youth minister at her church for 12 years.  
She has two daughters that live with her and her husband Kenny. They are a humble, hard working family just like yours and mine.
Kennedy is 18 and a college freshman.
Kaitlin 14 is in 9th grade
In 2009 they lost their oldest daughter Rachel in an auto accident.
 
 
 
Their home is in Vidor, Texas. They have evacuated twice. The latest was Thursday yesterday late afternoon. Today, they are safe at a family lake house north of the flooding. They have been able to source non-perishable necessities they can keep with them if they need to be on the move again. They are basically flood gypsy’s.
 
When Harvey moved east of Houston, it strengthened and pounded their area which is just east of Beaumont. When they saw that the water was going to flood their house on day two of the storm for them, they were able to save a few belongings and the things that were most important to them.
 
 
Among those were keepsakes that belonged to Rachel. As you can imagine, these items are sacred to Suzette.
 
As of this morning, water rescues are still going on in Vidor. Interstates are closed and there are few ways to get out and even fewer to get back in.
The Neches river is expected to crest today and residents aren’t sure how much higher the water will rise before it recedes.
 
Establishing flood insurance claims  and FEMA claims take time. It will be days before adjustors are able to get to the homes. The only thing they can do today is get to higher ground.
 
To assist Suzette’s family in their immediate need I have created a GoFundMe Campaign https://www.gofundme.com/ratclifffund This is a safe way for anyone to donate directly to a family that’s been affected by the flood and gives them immediate access to money while they wait for their claims to be processed. Flood insurance doesn’t cover the contents of their home. This includes their appliances and possibly their a/c unit. They will need materials for clean up like fans and window units to dry the house out.
 
As of today Suzette isn’t sure where they will live while repairs are being made. It’s too early to say for her and so many others. It feels like things should move much faster, especially since the sun is shining today. But until the water recedes, and the electricity comes back on,  we wait. 
 
It has been so difficult to watch this play out and all the while I can’t get to them. The interstate was flooded. But I’m doing everything I possibly can to help them from Houston. That’s why I established the GoFundMe in her name. I am also accepting deliveries and storing them for her. 
 
{Suzette and I last summer}
 
I can be contacted through my email becki@curiousdetails.com to answer questions about donations or deliveries. 
 
The first step is to wait for the high water to recede. Then clean up. Then repair. They have a very long road ahead but they are family that leans strongly on their faith. This is not the hardest obstacle they have faced as a family and they are certain God’s promises will carry them through this. 
 
Their family motto is Rachel’s favorite scripture, ‘love never fails’.  Suzette’s heart is with her community and the children at church. She is determined to get back home and help anyone she can there.
 
Thank you to everyone that has prayed, texted, supported, loved and contributed to my family. We are so grateful. 
 
Becki
 
 

Hurricane Harvey update

Where to start?

First off, my family and I are safe. We live in a small town northwest and over 60 miles from Houston and on much higher ground. I work (and post) from Houston often and have clients all over the city, many who were affected, some still struggling today, but my little family is not in the city.  

We are safe.

Grateful we were never without electricity and stayed dry. All of your texts and emails mean the world to me and others.

Second, I want to share about how to help my amazing home state.  Texas is big and brash and strong and wonderful but right now Texas needs help and much prayer.  

People are still wading in water, watching water creep up their driveways and being evacuated, TODAY.  Monday.  

{This is my friend and client Brandon Clarke above in the blue shirt helping people in his area of town north of the tollway and west of hwy 6, they had more flooding there today as gates were opened and some water released.}

And help will be needed for months and months not just next few days when its top on news list.  Please don’t forget the people of Houston and this region as time goes by.  These storms destroy homes and lives and it takes so much time to recover.  I will be setting up a Hurricane relief page here on the blog to try to organize and connect some needs in future days but listing some big sources below for immediate giving that you may or may not have seen already.  Many are suggesting giving monetarily online or via text first and foremost if possible,  and then donating goods locally if you live in the state. Also its so good if you can find a specific personal need you can meet if possible through a friend that may know someone or has a connection. Sending specific goods or sharing a talent you have by email or phone, if not today or this week maybe in months to come.

IMMEDIATE GIVING:

  • Its widely know how to donate by text to the RED CROSS or simply go here.
  • SAMARITANS PURSE people in the non-profit world have such high respect for how they handle funds and help people quickly and effectively..you can give on this link and also sign up to volunteer!
  • Houstonians respect and trust JJ Watts and his foundation YOU CARING

  • BAYOU CITY CHURCH is doing amazing work! Watch the video by Pastor Curtis Jones on their home page, yes he is Beth Moore’s son in law.
  • TEXAS BAPTIST MEN know how to get into places and help quickly and will go into areas that often are small and forgotten where big relief never makes it
  • Texas Monthly has a more extensive list and information

  • In addition to giving money directly you can also buy gifts and some reminders artists and designers have created. Many shops and Houston and Texas businesses are giving a portion or all of their profits for certain products to Hurricane relief, faves include the Texas Forever shirt from Magnolia and Golden Threads necklaces…both products are 100% donations….and you may think “seriously shopping for a tragic event” but a Texas charm around your neck or a t-shirt with a message on your back will help you and others remember Houston and southeast Texas for months maybe years to come! It’s not silly.

Visual reminders will be good…i love this idea!  

  • Two more faves, my friend Tara of Royers Pie Haven designed this great t-shirt that will benefit Bayou City Church efforts, Texas Diaper Bank, the Red Cross and more. click here to order!


  • And Houston native MAY BOOKS has created a collection and awesome reminders to keep us in your prayers and actions in days to come..I love seeing different artists and small businesses using their unique talents to shine line on helping Houston and all of Texas during this time..this is the body of Christ!  

 

  • Last but not least, close to my heart.  Focusing Families is located in Waller County, one of the many rural and poor counties that borders Houston/Harris County.  Focusing Families mission is domestic violence issues and they have a shelter in the town where I lived for over 15 years.  My sister-in-law is the Executive Director and its a small but amazing little organization that serves family needs in several counties and of course their needs and load increase during a natural disaster. I am working on linking to a Focusing Families wish list at Amazon for ongoing needs if anyone out of state wants to ship to this agency.  You can also donate online to them.  I can assure you Focusing Families will be dealing with despair and need related to this Hurricane for years.  And they always need help, diapers, formula etc.  This is a way to give directly into a small agency if you want to do something other than Red Cross or in addition to, we all give in different ways.

           Houston has never seen this much rain. Something like 45 inches. This wasn’t a typical storm.  And as Brene Brown said so eloquently on Instagram a couple of day ago here, we can’t “lead with judgement” so please resist.  Its hard to understand staying in a city prone to flooding when a big storm is coming but the mayor and others advised people to not evacuate.  Evacuation is another kind of chaos.  And y’all homes flooded that had never flooded before, watersheds and reservoirs full that have never had to be released before. Many people did leave that could, some left later when it became clear what was happening, some with children and pets in tow in early morning light on boats.  Thank goodness some stayed and were able to help neighbors. So please no judgement.  Houston is a huge city. There are complicated logistics and infrastructure. And now is the time to help not judge.

Also keep in mind, Hurricane Harvey has not just invaded Houston, first Rockport and Corpus Christi were hit hard and then the heavy rain caused swollen creeks and rivers and flooding that has affected country roads and little towns and families over a 30 county area!!! Shelters have been flooded.  Safe zones flooded.  And people are still standing in water right now.  The sun is shining in many places but not in all.  And because of the system of bayous and levees and reservoirs and watersheds some water is still shifting around and reflooding some areas or could . . .  People are nervously watching and waiting. 

So yes I know this is not a news blog but it is a HOME blog and homes all over Houston and southeast Texas have been destroyed or touched … Each with a family and a story.  One of my favorite recent projects and one I have had on my blog que for over a week to share is this home.  A few photos were shown in the recent Southern Lady article but not all and I wanted to share more.  This home had over four feet of water in it over the weekend. The homeowner is one of my very first clients (over 12 years ago) and we have worked the past two years on this project collecting things for their new home in the city.  They have been there only months.  They are safe, they have insurance and perspective. But y’all its still their HOME.I can’t even share photos yet. Its tough. I think natural disasters are like cancer in that they are no respecter of color or social status or neighborhood.  Some experiences are worse than others, some are fatal some recover but it marks you and those that love you and your family. Sure its easier to recover if you have resources and a support system but it still marks you. It’s hard.  So I pray we have compassion on all and try to help all in different ways that are unique to us and our talents and abilities.

            If you are a design professional, contractor, carpenter or craftsperson please leave a message on this thread if you can help in any way and I can try to connect you to a need once rebuilding begins.  Again this is premature since people are still being rescued and waters shifting/rising, those needs should be foremost in prayer, but I have this on my heart to try to coordinate as rebuilding begins AND IT WILL.

Rainbow outside our door #hope #promises #beautyfromashes #risingstrong #Texastrong #Godstrong

**If you want to help in future days with remodels and rebuilding phase or know of sources or good craftsmen and workers, please leave names and info in comments.  Also if you know of an immediate needs please leave info in comments and link to facebook or anywhere with more info!

**Thank you Whitney English for designing the top graphic

Related Posts with Thumbnails