Hurricane Harvey: SA Pulls Together to Help

CycleBar Stone Oak helps at Food Bank

Horrified and mesmerized, San Antonians watched the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Harvey last week.  It was designated the most expensive natural disaster ever – with more than $190 billion in total losses projected across Texas and Louisiana, according to a statement by Dr. Joel N. Myers, founder and chairman of Accuweather.


So grateful our city was spared, we were overcome by the desire to do something – anything - to help those in need.  Schools, businesses and churches collected items to be distributed by the San Antonio Food Bank – the big red bins popping up across the city like oversized mushrooms after a rain.  


The donated goods filled truckload after truckload headed Southeast to Corpus Christi, Rockport, Port Aransas - towns whose names previously evoked thoughts of happy days on the beach, now representing disaster and devastation.  And then there was Houston and its suburbs, where more than 75,000 homes have been predicted damaged by the Harris County Flood District. 


Here are a just a few examples of local efforts that inspire all of us to jump in and do what we can to help others in times of need.  


Students mobilized immediately.  Monday, Aug. 28, was the first day of school for NEISD.  Student service clubs: PALS, student council, National Honor Societies and Eagles Scouts implemented relief efforts.  At Tejeda Middle School, Paw it Forward Signs were up in the carpool line by Tuesday, publicizing a student contest to support hard-hit Calhoun County.  Grade levels will compete to see who can contribute the most items, according to the school website.  Reagan High School Student Council President Maitlin Harford said they are partnering with a sister school in Houston to provide resources and clothing. 


Local Businesses contributed in ways big or small.  CycleBar boutique cycling studio in Stone Oak offered three Harvey relief rides on Labor Day.  Riders were asked to bring a non-perishable donation in lieu of payment.     


“Our community of riders are the best! Once we announced we were taking donations on Labor Day, the classes filled up almost immediately.  More than 150 riders brought much-needed donations.  We will continue accepting non-perishable donations for the entire month of September,” said owner Gary Stinnett.  

HEB jumped in – sending their mobile kitchens and pharmacies to serve warm meals and bring water, ice and medicine to fellow Texans.  “
Providing aid in times of need is the cornerstone of HEB's Helping Here philosophy, which promises to stand by communities during times of crisis,” according to the website.  And don’t neglect the four-legged friends.  HEB has donated more than 60,000 pounds of pet food in the first week.  

Speaking of pets, River City Companion Animal Hospital and Pet Supplies Plus continue to collect supplies for rescued pets displaced from areas of devastation.  


And Keller Williams Reality creatively recruited volunteers and solicited donations through social media and neighborhood message boards like Nextdoor.   Employees and community members alike cheered September 2 as they watched a full-to-the brim trailer pull out with much needed cargo – 100 generators, flats and flats of water and cleaning supplies - headed for Houston.  


Churches joined with local non-profits to raise funds and gift cards, collect items and train volunteers.  The Rio Texas Chapter of the United Methodist Church sent early response teams – volunteers who have completed its disaster relief training. CBC, partnering with Faith Outreach Center and My Church, opened its sanctuary the same day with room for 3500 to complete Red Cross Volunteer training, as well as raising tens of thousands of monetary donations.  Pastor Ed Newton said this outpouring of assistance would be a “blessing in the storm.  That’s the spirit of San Antonio, Texas,” he added. 

We have barely scratched the surface.  Rebuilding and recovery is expected to continue for months, if not years.  Check out ways to help on our website, through social media or at City Council District 9.

Submitted by:  Amy Morgan 


kids helping