After a deluge of rain that Hurricane Harvey dumped on the Houston area starting Saturday, August 26, the parts of the city that were not affected were difficult to find. It seemed like every neighborhood from as far north as The Woodlands to as far south as League City had experienced historic flooding.
When the clouds parted and the sun began to shine again, we all realized the widespread devastation and knew that as Houstonians, we had to do something.
Among those who set out to help their neighbors after Hurricane Harvey were our own Stage Stores family members.
one associate’s story
We live in the Meyerland area, which was hit hard by the flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. My husband, two daughters and I were very lucky to be spared any damage to our home. I knew this was a great opportunity to help others and to reiterate to my girls the value of doing good for the community. So we jumped at the chance to volunteer with a group from Kolter Elementary School.
The group coordinator had a list of Kolter families who had requested assistance. It was heartbreaking to know that so many families with young children right in the heart of our town were in need. Some had lost everything when their homes were inundated with water. Others needed basic supplies, like clothing and cleaning supplies.
The family we were assigned to had about four feet of water in their home. I was struck by the fact that the makeup of the family was similar to ours—wife, husband and two daughters. It was another reminder that this could have happened to us.
The woman and her daughters had evacuated to Dallas, but her husband had stayed behind knowing he would need to find somewhere else for the family to live. We were working with his brother who had traveled from Dallas to help the family clean up the mess left by Harvey.
In the midst of our team helping this big, burly man haul out furniture, mattresses and all of the home’s contents, he asked me how I knew his brother. When I explained that I didn’t, he began to cry. The touching moment ended in a hug between us strangers.
The hardest part for my daughters and me was going through the kids’ toys and books. It was really sad to throw away soaked princess dresses and a teddy bear, knowing that the kids were far away and didn’t really understand what was going on. My daughters—book lovers themselves—spent a lot of time in the driveway going through the kids’ books to see what could be salvaged. They even took the time to lay the kids’ drawings in the sun so they could dry out and be saved. Another touching moment.
We saw random acts of kindness happening everywhere in the area. One man was going through the neighborhood handing out sack lunches to anyone out working in their yards. It was amazing to see how such a tragedy could bring out the best in people. We were blessed to be a part of it.
Even two weeks after the storm, millions of people across the Houston area are still feeling the effects of Hurricane Harvey. Thousands are without homes. Many more still lack basic necessities like clothing and toiletries. The needs continue and will continue for months, if not years, to come. We consider Houston home and we will keep doing all we can to lend a helping hand to our neighbors in need.