Home » Community » BAPS Charities relief and recovery efforts in Houston and Beaumont areas

BAPS Charities relief and recovery efforts in Houston and Beaumont areas

COMM_BAPS Charities Hurricane Harvey 2

STAFFORD – As water started rising in Tushar Patel’s home on August 31, 2017 in Katy, Texas, all he could do was to grab a few essentials and get his family to higher grounds. He and his family were forced to evacuate their home and leave behind all of their personal and lifelong belongings. This was the story of thousands around the Houston area as the city experienced the worst catastrophic floods brought by Hurricane Harvey.
The greater Houston area experienced over 50 inches of rain when Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25, 2017. The slow-moving hurricane caused record flooding, forcing many to leave their homes under mandatory evacuations, while others were not as lucky and had to evacuate in a rush as the water rose swiftly from the relentless rains.
As Tushar watched the news while waiting for the rain to come to an end, he could only imagine what was happening at his home. He knew that once he was able to get back to his home, the recovery would be challenging.
BAPS Charities recognized this challenge and understood that the essential needs of medical equipment, shelter, water, food, and emergency healthcare were critical for the relief and recovery efforts.
BAPS Charities volunteers responded to this call to action in Houston and surrounding areas and their volunteers worked alongside local state officials and first responders to provide assistance.
On August 28, over 50 volunteers served 225 hot meals to Kempner and Marshall High Schools which were acting as local shelters. In addition, 150 hot meals were served to University of Houston students. Over 100 pizzas were distributed to responding local law enforcement officials in the Missouri City and Sugar Land, TX areas.
Lt. Ruben Valencia of Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department appreciated the efforts, “Thank you so much for offering this. This kind gesture means a lot to all of the law enforcement officers.”
In addition, medical volunteers provided urgent care needs at the shelters in the Clear Lake, Texas area. Volunteers shuttled evacuees from Riverstone, and Sienna neighborhoods in Sugar Land, Texas to area shelters. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir and local volunteers from Stafford, TX continue to shelter 75 families in their homes who are still unable to return to their flooded homes. The George R. Brown Convention center in downtown Houston was inundated with evacuees. BAPS Charities distributed essential toiletries to over 100 individuals and a total of 100 pillows and blankets were given for the evacuees to use.

BAPS Charities volunteers assisting in clean up work.

BAPS Charities volunteers assisting in clean up work.

Over the first several days following the floods, BAPS Charities served over 4000 hot meals, dispersed over 5 pallets water and orange juice in both the greater Houston and Beaumont, TX areas.
Perhaps the largest need for help throughout the city was seen as the flood waters slowly began to recede in the various neighborhoods. As Tushar entered his home on September 1, the sight brought tears to his eyes. His entire house, from the floors to so much of his cherished belongings, were now soaked as he had gotten over 4 feet of water in his home. As Tushar began to shift through his belongings, thinking of what to do next, a group of volunteers from BAPS Charities arrived with the needed tools and prepared to help get the home cleaned out so that Tushar could think about next steps.
Volunteers of BAPS Charities set aside their personal time from work and family to help others recover from the catastrophic flood damages. The volunteers collected boots, dehumidifiers, generators, cutting tools, etc to start the recovery efforts. The recovery efforts started at 7 am with 75 volunteers beginning to make hot meals and ended after a long day of cleaning out floors and sheetrock from flooded and water damaged homes.
Tushar commented, “As heartbreaking as this process is, having these volunteers to help has brought a smile to our faces.”. He added that, “Removing water damaged items is important so that the house can be dried out and free of mold, having the help to do it quickly has been essential.” Volunteers over the 5 days assisted with 25 homes in pulling soaked carpets, moving furniture, cutting drywall and debris out of the homes. The debris removal process was the most difficult for thousands of homeowners as many hired workers were overbooked.
Tushar Patel hopes that this does not happen to anyone but he said, “BAPS Charities gave me and my neighbors support with a personal touch, they provided care as their own family.”
Over the last ten years, BAPS Charities has been actively supporting relief efforts worldwide, specifically providing relief support after hurricanes Sandy and Katrina as well as the Fort McMurray wildfire. To find out more about the effort or to see how you can get involved, please visit: http://www.bapscharities.org/usa/harveyrelief/


More news

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *