While the gulf coast of Texas was still early in their recovery efforts from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, the entire state of Florida was slammed by Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in the Florida Keys Sunday as a Category 4 storm and rumbled inexorably up the state’s gulf coast over the next 24 hours. At least 17 people have died from Florida to South Carolina due to the hurricane, in spite of nearly 7 million people in the Southeast evacuating their homes to escape the storm’s winds and widespread flooding. As of Monday, 6.5 million Floridians were still without power.
Both of these storms were massive; historical in the scope of the damage they inflicted upon the South. Our Affiliates in Texas, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina have all been affected, some severely. We have been in constant touch with all of them and are grateful to report that all families and staff are safe and that all Affiliates are serving families as best they are able.
But their needs are high. Houston area Affiliates have been hit the hardest by flooding. Several congregations in Lake Houston and Clear Creek will be unable to host indefinitely while they assess and repair damage. Some Fort Bend congregations’ shelter space is being shared with critical first responders, limiting their capacity moving forward. As of Tuesday, much of Palm Beach was without power and dealing with extensive storm damage—Affiliate leaders had not yet even been able to check in on their Day Centers, although the families they are serving were safe. Sarasota was also without power—their office is closed but congregations are able to host their families.
On a personal note, one recent family in the Sarasota program helps with disaster mitigation and is working in Texas on Harvey recovery. Another graduate family happens to repair cell phone towers and is helping to restore service to Florida customers.
The best way to help these Affiliates and the families they serve is by making financial contributions—it is still too early, and too chaotic on the ground, to identify specific ways to best help beyond sending money. The one universal truth across all of these Affiliates is that the storms are severely impacting their budgets.
Several organizations and Family Promise Affiliates nationwide have reached out to national to pledge support to those affected by these generational storms. If you are interested in helping, we are accepting donations on our website and will be disbursing 100% of funds received to Affiliates as needed. Please accompany your donation with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org identifying if the donation you made is designated specifically for hurricane relief.
If you prefer, you may send a check to:
71 Summit Ave.
Summit, NJ 07901
Attn: Hurricane Relief