We are two weeks into our first disaster relief effort. Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast about 20 days ago. I can say, without question this has been our busiest season to date. In the last 2 weeks we have doubled every number that we track. Doubled the meals, doubled the amount of food given away, and doubled the amount of volunteer hours. It has been a steep learning curve, but we are learning.
One of the things that I am learning is that we are far from finished with our recovery efforts. I went personally to one area today, only 4 miles from my house, and it was also the first day that FEMA had been to this neighborhood. I am talking about a neighborhood that saw 8-12 feet of water rush through their homes. A neighborhood where the water was literally up to the rooftops. They had banded together, as Texans do, but the needs are great. I think we will be helping feed this community for weeks, before they are able to even think of living in their houses again, much less getting the appliances to cook.
The other thing that I am learning, is that volunteers are awesome. I have always had a high regard for our volunteers, but the dedication, hard work, and can-do attitudes have lifted my spirits, and given me energy to keep plugging along.
We have a lot of work yet to do. I know we are up for the task. As Bishop Andy Doyle put it, "for such a time as this..." we are called.
We are now into Day 10 of our Harvey Relief Efforts. One would think that we are slowing down, but the need is still great, as so many people do not have usable kitchens or an ability to cook right now. Our awesome team of volunteers is going strong, and here is what we have done in 10 days:
1784 volunteer hours
3, 275 meals served
6 food pantries at 3 locations
2,000 lbs of perishables given at food pantries
113 families given cleaning supplies
19 fill ups of diesel for the generator
610 lbs of smoked meat cut, diced, and sliced
38 chickens cooked and pulled
30 gallons of chicken stock made
40 gallons of beef broth made
90 lbs of potatoes peeled
100 lbs of pasta cooked
200 cases of water delivered
countless prayers said
Thanks to all who are making this happen. We could not have done it with out our partners at Texas Cart Builders, Keep US Fed Montgomery County, Montgomery County Food Bank, St. Isidore Episcopal Church, and Trinity Episcopal Church.
Thank you for those who helped in our first day of disaster relief. A hot meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans went out to feed 100, and we got prepped to do tomorrow's dinner and food collection. And for your prayers, especially your prayers, we found out that the truck is undamaged in storage and we just need the water to go down on the roads before we can get it out of the lot.
Keep an eye out for more volunteer sign ups to come, as well as more items that we will need donated. You are #offensivelygenerous!
We are on day 5 of the storm, and we hope that the worst of the weather is past. This means that we are going to be going into high gear with disaster relief. As of today, we can not get to the food truck. The roads that lead to the storage unit are all flooded, but we have a degree of hope that the food truck might have survived.
But we are more than a vehicle.
Efforts are now underway to help in our community, and we will need everyone's help in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Please check the volunteer page to see where you can help, and our give page to see how to donate financially.
We are beginning to have a little following of folks who know when we are going to be preparing dinner for the community, and we couldn't be more excited about it. We were hoping to get about 35 people to have dinner with us, and more than twice that number actually came out. Luckily, our volunteers were able to step up the cooking game at the last minute and we got meals to most of those folks who came out.
We look forward to this monthly event, which next month will be sponsored by the Tamarac Pines Apartments, and will be in their community center. You know what that means, right? Air conditioning!
When the event is called "Crawdads for 'Merica" you really can not say go to being a participant. We add to that it was an event to help raise money for Veterans organizations, and it was a no brainer. Although the crawdads were handled by other expert hands, the truck was tasked in feeding those who do not usually have crawdads on their menus. So, Burgers and hot dogs it is, and we surely know how to get those out!
We thank all the participating groups who invited us out, and especially thank those veterans who served for us.
The day dawned with a coolness of the air, and bright blue skies, and that was just the kind of day we needed as we traveled into Houston at St. John the Divine, and there spring festival known as Seersucker Sunday. We served a record number of meals out of the truck. Over 500 meals in just over 2 hours. Gumbo and the salad with salmon were the two big hits, both of which were test kitchen items!
They posted a great article about the day, and about the truck, which can be found here.