Houston, TX -- At the root of every disaster, there are people who rise to the occasion and move into action immediately. These special people - volunteers - give their time and energy unselfishly.
For days, Tropical Storm Allison flooded Southeast Texas with several feet of rain. Even before government agencies were able to mobilize relief efforts, volunteer agencies opened their hearts, their warehouses and their purses.
The waters have receded. Rainbows of volunteers and volunteer agencies have spread across regions where Allison showed her wrath. Working together with local, state and federal agencies, voluntary agencies are helping Texans find the path to the road of recovery.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Division of Emergency Management (DEM), Texas Department of Public Safety, praise the sacrifices and efforts of those who responded to the needs of flood victims affected by Tropical Storm Allison.
Volunteer agencies are also coordinating and teaming up with local and national corporate partners to serve those affected by Allison. Many volunteers stand ready and willing to help by putting up signs and distributing flyers, helping residents fill out forms, providing counseling, locating and speaking with apartment managers, and walking door-to-door to provide information and assessments of needs.
Volunteer groups are the eyes and ears for critical disaster information, the voices of sympathy and the shoulders for many to cry on. They are the helping hands. Although these credible organizations are formed to help victims in a time of tragedy, there are some individuals or groups who take advantage of those in distress. It is important to remember to look toward credible, long-standing agencies for help or referrals.
The goal of volunteer agencies is to ease the suffering of others. As immediate needs were met, volunteers ensured the well being of flood-affected Texans. Their efforts remain ongoing during the recovery process. Because of the tireless efforts of these quiet heroes, the quality of life has been improved for every person touched by these unsung heroes.
The following information illustrates some of the valiant efforts of volunteer agencies at work because of Allison. Website addresses are also included for many of the agencies. Many of these agencies are continuing with their relief efforts.
Adventist Community Services- Distributed clothing and personal care kits via mobile units.
American Red Cross- Provided shelter, food and emergency assistance to families. www.redcross.org
Associated Catholic Charities- Offered refuge and immigration services, as well as counseling. Parish churches collected and distributed food, clothing and hygiene products. www.catholiccharities.org
Atascocita Community Church- Provided cleanup and food by coordinating with local churches. www.atascocita.org
Building Lives Offering Community (B.L.O.C.K.)- Provided food and clothing.
Boston Piano Religious Trust- Provided grants to damaged or destroyed churches.
Church World Service- Consulted to provide guidance for interfaith development.
Episcopal Diocese of Texas- Activated their mobile medical van to provide tetanus shots for workers throughout the affected area. Also, continues to provide volunteers for cleanup home repair and rebuilding. www.sleh.com/sleh