Local hurricane relief efforts show generosity of community

When it comes to helping others, organizers don’t have to beg Columbus residents and businesses to lend a hand. That’s been proven true many times, and reiterated again since Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and Hurricane Irma landed in Florida.

Quickly, two local congregations — Asbury United Methodist Church and St. Peter’s Lutheran Church — began putting together plans to help residents in southeast Texas. They were working through national relief organizations to determine where to provide help. Both churches are working to assemble teams of volunteers to travel to Houston to help with recovery efforts.

Likewise, county residents started working together to collect needed supplies and other items – also headed for Texas. Volunteer firefighter Shane Chandler organized a collection at the Clay Township Volunteer Fire Department Sept. 4 to 6 so donations could be routed to the nonprofit Houston Food Bank to distribute. Also, former Bartholomew County Coroner Larry Fisher organized at donation drive at Clifford Volunteer Fire Department on Sept. 9 to assist residents of three small Texas communities: Fannett, Hamshire and Winnie, all located southwest of Beaumont. That resulted in nearly a semi trailer full of items to assist victims.

Depending on the severity of damage caused by Hurricane Irma, an additional relief effort could be conducted to help small towns in Florida, too, Fisher said.

When you’ve been impacted yourself, as Columbus residents were during the June 2008 flood, you know first-hand what victims are dealing with.

That experience of devastation and need for help sticks with people, and is motivation to help others in similar circumstances because you understand the benefit of a helping hand.

As a result, Bartholomew County residents have turned out in force to generously donate their time, money and supplies to help residents hundreds of miles away.

While donations of supplies to communities affected by natural disasters are helpful, monetary contributions are still incredibly important and can boost results. Here are some charities to consider to help victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas:

  • American Red Cross: Donate via the charity’s website using a credit or debit card. Texting a $10 donation is possible by sending a text to the number 90999 with the message “REDCROSS.”
  • Texas Diaper Bank
  • Save the Children: It is setting up safe areas for children inside shelters, and distributing infant and toddler supplies.
  • Portlight Strategies: It helps people with disabilities, older adults and their families recover after disasters.
  • San Antonio Humane Society: It has set up an emergency fund for pets and strays
  • Houston Humane Society