For some, it feels like Hurricane Harvey was so long ago, while others are reminded daily of the impact it has had on Houston and its people. These people have stepped up and met the challenge this storm presented head on. Our Houston North Highland team is no exception. They have worked tirelessly to help their community after such a devastating display from Mother Nature. By working to overcome this hardship, they perfectly encompass the spirit of North Highland with their ceaseless efforts to help their neighbors and the city they call home.
We asked some of our Houston employees to share how they are helping with Hurricane Harvey relief in their communities.
One North Highlander volunteered with the United Way of Greater Houston 2-1-1 helpline. This helpline is for people in need of resources, guidance and sometimes just a person to lend an ear and listen to people’s stories. The United Way had a backlog of disaster relief calls because they did not have enough available full-time staff to handle them, so our team member stepped in to give them much-needed support.
Team members also volunteered across Houston wherever they could lend a hand. Team members worked in shelters, sorted food at the Houston Food Bank and helped at donation centers that popped up at local schools. Since initial volunteer efforts, the Houston team has made an ongoing effort to continue supporting the Houston Food Bank. Recently, they, along with family, clients and neighbors, packaged nourishing meals for local children who might otherwise go hungry. Along with other shift volunteers, the team helped package 6,900 boxes, which yielded approximately 42,000 meals. This means almost 7,000 children will receive meals in their backpacks at a time of so much uncertainty and instability.
With all of the damage in the area, the team also stepped up to help their neighbors who were impacted by Harvey. North Highlanders helped with various cleanup efforts, from removing damaged drywall, appliances and furniture from friends’ houses, to working to salvage everything they could from a local school and helping teachers relocate to temporary buildings. North Highlanders also cleaned belongings collected from the flood, laundered flood victims’ clothes for them, shopped for people who lost everything in the flood and delivered supplies to those who needed it.
In addition to this wonderful work, their generosity has known no bounds when it comes to donations. Team members donated boxes of food, clothes and other supplies, encouraged friends and family across the country to donate to various relief agencies and made financial contributions of their own. Some even opened their homes to displaced residents and animals whose homes were destroyed.
One North Highlander was even able to help facilitate a reunion with a lost family member: “During the course of the event, we received a call from a friend of a relative in Louisiana who lost touch of his 91-year-old aunt with no cell phone who lived in a neighborhood near us. I told them I’d try to drive over there to see if I could see her house. We waded through several blocks of flooded streets up to our thighs and found a neighbor who knew he’d seen her evacuate but didn’t know where. Other neighbors in kayaks and jeeps came out about the same time. They shared my number through their grapevine of neighborhood connections, and, within two hours, we had a call from someone who had sheltered the aunt and the reunion was made. The aunt was picked up the next day by her relatives in Louisiana and transported to safer ground while her home was repaired.”
Our people perfectly demonstrate what it means to be #HoustonStrong, and we are incredibly proud to call these individuals friends and colleagues.