Dear beloved UCOH family,
As we hold all of those affected by Hurricane Harvey in our thoughts and prayers, we look for ways that we can make a difference individually and collectively as a spiritual family. Because we know the power of affirmative prayer, we invite you to center into a place of peace as we pray together discerning what is ours to do. We offer you the following prayer, from our hearts to yours:
Revs. Kristen & Brian have been in conversations with Unity Worldwide Ministries (UWM), Unity of Houston and many other Unity ministers whose congregations have been most impacted by Harvey.
UWM is working closely with Unity of Houston, which will serve as a hub for relief efforts for all of the affected Unity churches and centers. UWM is also in the process of creating a GoFundMe account that we will make available as soon as the fund is set up.
Rev. Michael Gott of Unity of Houston indicated that it is too soon to assess exactly what support they will need. He anticipates a need for volunteers on the ground in Houston assisting congregants and will communicate those needs as they gain better clarity around how best to be of support in the coming days.
What We Do Can Today:
UCOH is actively participating in two drives that we wanted to bring to your immediate attention.
A couple within our community has stepped forward to coordinate a collection drive for the Austin Disaster Relief Network. An immediate collection is underway.
Dates: Now through Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
Drop-off location: Unity Church of the Hills
- New undergarments (all sizes, children and adult)
- New socks (all sizes, children and adult)
- Toiletries (ie: shampoo, facewash, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc.)
- New bed pillows
- New blankets
- Cleanup supplies
- Black trash bags
- Mops and buckets
- Utility knives
- Leather work gloves
- Inflatable mattresses
- Hand sanitizer
- Box fans
- Baby Bottles
- Baby Formula
- Baby Diapers
We anticipate additional collections beyond this Sunday, but want to get items collected and over to Austin Disaster Relief as quickly as possible. We will then re-assess to make sure that we are collecting the most crucial items.
Hill Country Community Ministries “Stuff the Truck”
On Saturday, September 2nd volunteers will gather to load a 16 ft truck full of supplies that HCCM will be taking to Houston, La Grange and wherever else Spirit guides them in a way of support. You can volunteer for the event and/or bring needed supplies to their location on during those times.
Date: Saturday, September 2nd from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Location: 1005 Lacy Drive, Leander, TX 78641.
Items need for donation:
- Hand sanitizer wipes/bottles
- Large heavy duty trash bags
- Bottled water
- Toilet Paper
- Paper Towels
- Paper Plates
- Bar Soap
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- First Aid Kits
- Bug Spray
- Baby Food
- Baby wipes
- Boxes filled with easy to eat snacks
- paper plates, plastic utensils, cups
- Gift cards to Walmart, food places, gas cards
- Floor fans
- New Games for children
Items Needed for Cleanup:
- Large heavy duty trash bags
- Work gloves
- Rubber maid containers
- Rolls of packing tape & duck tape
- Pop up tables to stage stuff
- House cleaning solvents
Volunteers are also needed to caravan with the truck on Sunday, September 3rd. Details on the collection drive and caravan can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/117673128966957/
Additional Ways to Help:
If you are looking for additional ways to give back, consider the items listed below (reprinted from Texas Monthly and other sources).
To Help Those Displaced
If you’re not in one of the affected areas and you have a spare room, you can host someone by listing your home on Airbnb for free, with no service fees to anyone. Right now, most of the listings are in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio. If you’re in any of those cities—or another part of the state that’s not experiencing flooding—you might consider listing your space so displaced people have more options.
In Dallas, Trusted World is operating three shelters for evacuees. They need donations, supplies (clean clothing, non-perishable food, toiletries, diapers, and baby formula), and volunteers to help sort out the things that people have dropped off.
Global Giving is trying to raise $2 million to help those affected by the storm. As of this writing, they’ve raised $43,000, but the campaign had just launched. The organization provides food, gas, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter in the short-term, and then funnels the remaining resources to local organizations to facilitate long-term recovery.
HEB doesn’t accept donations, but it’s worth being aware that the supermarket chain provides emergency response services, mobile kitchens, and disaster-response units to affected areas. (They also announced on Sunday that they’d be collecting donations at the register for the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and Feeding Texas.) That’s especially important as a number of stores in affected areas (including the entire Houston area) are closed. You can learn more about which stores are closed—and which ones have reopened—here.
To Help Kids
The Texas Diaper Bank, which is based out of San Antonio, is putting together relief kits for families with very small children who need access to clean diapers in the midst of flooding and evacuations. Diapers take up a lot of space in a delivery truck, which means that other relief organizations have to decide between bringing diapers or food to affected areas. The Texas Diaper Bank fills in that need.
The Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi weathered the storm well, never losing power. It’s accepting financial donations now, and if you live in the area and want to help, you can also donate blood. They serve a large area, and people from many affected parts of the coast are likely to need their services.
To Help Animals
We all saw the photo of the dog carrying the full bag of food around after the storm, right? Good boy, Otis. And there are a lot of pets who were uprooted by the storm. The SPCA of Texas is taking in hundreds of animals transferred from shelters on the coast who aren’t safe where they are right now. You can donate to the organization to help defray the costs—or you can open your home and foster a displaced animal until it can be reunited with its owner.
If you’re in Austin and want to work with a local org, Austin Pets Alive! is doing similar work, and has similar needs—cash, to keep operating, and volunteers to foster animals. They can also use certain pet supplies: large plastic or metal bins with lids to store food, leashes and collars, cat litter, large brooms, cat-specific beds, and liquid laundry soap. (The organization says they’re good on crates and pet food now, and don’t have much space to store them.)
To Help People With Medical Needs
Even as relief organizations work to help large numbers of people, it’s difficult sometimes for them to provide for people with special needs. Portlight, which has provided inclusive relief to people with disabilities for twenty years—including in Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy—is working to ensure that people who require medical equipment and assistive technology have what they need after they evacuate, and to make sure that those same folks are able to get to safety. They accept donations via PayPal.
Direct Relief USA offers prescription drugs and other medical supplies to those who need it in emergency situations, and works with clinics and primary care doctors to ensure that people are able to get what they need when they need it. They’re accepting financial contributions.
To Provide Food
Here’s a list of food banks in both affected areas and in places where those affected are likely to spend some time in the immediate aftermath of the storm (via the Houston Press):
Houston Food Bank
Galveston Food Bank
Food Bank of the Golden Crescent (Victoria)
Corpus Christi Food Bank
Southeast Texas Food Bank (Beaumont)
Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley (Pharr)
Brazos Valley Food Bank (Bryan)
Central Texas Food Bank (Austin)
San Antonio Food Bank
To Help The Homeless
The Houston Coalition for the Homeless is facilitating shelter for homeless people in Houston, including offering up-to-date information about which shelters currently have space, who’s the best fit for each one, and how to get there safely. They’re accepting financial donations to continue their work.
To Help Farmers
There’ve been a lot of dramatic photos of cattle and other livestock being rescued in the storm, but there’ll be a lot of recovering to do for many of them. The Texas Department of Agriculture’s STAR Fund is a resource made up entirely of private donations that go to farmers and ranchers affected by the storm.
First, Last and Not Least
We close this post in the same energy and vibration that we opened it with — centered in the power of affirmative prayer. We never take for granted the amazing work and difference you make through your conscious, focused prayer on those affected by Harvey. As we lift them in our thoughts and prayers, from a clear place of knowing the Divine Truth of them, our sisters and brothers are lifted, inspired, and supported.
With deep abiding love,
UCOH Co-Ministers and Staff