::Special Guest Post from my friend Austin ::
On September 7th this year, the aftermath of hurricane Hermine washed into my childhood home in Round Rock and displaced my parents. More than a foot of water washed through our stuff leaving soaked carpet, mud, and a huge mess to clean up. It was a disaster that hit more than 600 families in Central Texas across 7 counties. Whether it was a single foot of floodwater or 12 feet, the families affected now have to rebuild their lives.
What has amazed me in the midst of the rebuilding effort is how many people have donated their time, resources, and even donated money to the rebuilding effort. I think that these “volunteers” are a bigger variable than the disaster itself. The floodwaters will come, and the thing that we get to choose is how we react and respond to each disaster that hits our community.
The day after the flood I began working with the Austin Disaster Relief Network to organize more than 350 volunteers to work in Round Rock in my old neighborhood. Working with the ADRN we also organized more than 30 volunteers to begin rebuilding the home of Charles and Gaye Lynn Bailey, one of the families who needed the community to support them.
On October 9-10 with 30 people, monetary donations, donated garage doors, bathtubs, and drywall, we as volunteers began work on the Bailey home to help them begin to rebuild. All in all, the volunteers did almost $20,000 of work on the house in a weekend. That’s the power of volunteer work.
Now with FEMA’s refusal to grant the State of Texas’ request for disaster funds, self-organized volunteer efforts like this one are how the Central Texas community is going to rebuild. The Austin Disaster Relief Network is taking the model we created on the Bailey House and spreading it to other volunteer projects and is going to be recruiting volunteers to adopt families that were displaced by the flooding. In the coming weeks, you’ll have the opportunity to make the difference to a family like the Bailey’s by volunteering to help them re-build.
If you want to get involved, please volunteer or pledge to the Austin Disaster Relief Network using HelpAttack! HelpAttack is a cool online giving platform that let’s you tweet to donate to your favorite causes.
– Austin Gunter