Field Report by Justin Jenkins
HOUSTON, TX – As the Operation Blessing team arrived in Houston, Texas, yesterday, I had flashbacks to the devastation from Hurricane Harvey. Our team came here two years ago and helped many families in this area take their first steps towards recovery.
Now we were returning to see if families need our help recovering from Tropical Storm Imelda. I couldn’t help but wonder. “Can a tropical depression really be as devastating as a hurricane?” It didn’t seem possible. But as we left Houston and drove through the communities of Tavola, Woodbranch, and Roman Forest, I wasn’t prepared for what awaited us.
In Tavola, we saw cars lining the streets. Most of them were pulled onto the curbs, and some even appeared to have water marks. We found this odd, but we didn’t yet know what it meant. Once we arrived at the local rec center, acting as a distribution hub for food and supplies, we began to realize the full extent of the flood damage.
We heard harrowing stories about how fast the waters rose, catching many people off guard. In addition, we learned that many victims, including senior citizens, had to be rescued by airboats. We found out many homes had filled with 3-4 feet of flood water, and some even more.
Back to Help Again
Thankfully, Operation Blessing was already sending help to these communities! As we talked to these families at the distribution center, an Operation Blessing semi-truck was already on its way. It held pallets of water and disaster relief kits generously provided by the Home Depot Foundation. And thanks to our partnership with Pastor Dave and The Avenue Church, we had already identified a great need in this area and were prepared to help these families as soon as possible.
Our 53’ Operation Blessing semi-truck arrived at the distribution site, located just minutes from the flooded communities. We unloaded the pallets of water and disaster relief kits. As soon as the semi-truck was unloaded, volunteers from the local area—whose friends and neighbors had flood damage—began to load their vehicles with our supplies.
Handing Out Much Needed Disaster Relief Supplies
Then they started taking them into the community. We had an opportunity to join them and help pass out those supplies to hurting families. We knew these disaster relief kits were important, but we had no idea just how much of a difference they would make in people’s lives.
In Roman Forest, another community hard hit by this flood, we pulled up to one house and met Esther. She told us she was there helping her sister Anna, whose home was severely damaged. Anna’s house was flooded with head high water that left a massive line across her wall.
When you’re caught in the midst of such devastation, it’s easy to forget about basic cleaning supplies. Thankfully we had those supplies, along with many others, in our disaster relief kits. “They had some of the sanitation wipes in the bucket,” Esther shared, “and we needed a clean surface to put the food on.”
Another essential item when cleaning out your home is trash bags. “We were going to make a run for more garbage bags. And then I said, ‘Wait, we’re supplied by Home Depot with garbage bags.’ So we appreciate that.”
In addition to sending supplies into the communities of Tavola, Woodbranch, and Roman Forest, we are also moving into the Beaumont area. Our team is partnering with Cathedral Church to reach out in that community who was also devastated by the floodwaters of Tropical Storm Imelda.
We served families in that area during Hurricane Harvey, and we’re returning to help again. Thank you so much for your prayers and your support. It’s because of you that we’re able to be here, on the ground in Texas, helping these families take those first steps toward recovery.
If you can, please give a special gift to help disaster victims in need at this time.