Harvey canvass

Our Response to Hurricane Harvey

TOP Ed Fund logo

The floodwater from Hurricane Harvey was waist deep at the church where our organizer Anita Scott and nearly 300 other people had escaped to after being flooded out of their homes. They knew they couldn’t stay there much longer. The roof was caving in, people needed medical attention and the water was rising.

I’m so proud of Anita who for two days persisted, useAnitad every resource, asked everyone she knew for help until she had boats and helicopters sent in to rescue everyone.

And true to her nature of always doing for others, Anita didn’t get on a rescue boat until 2 a.m. Tuesday, after everyone elsehad been evacuated.

Inspiring stories like this one happened thousands of times over this past week in Houston. In this time of great and desperate need, people have given so generously to their neighbors to help them be safe, fed, clothed and housed.

Before the rain had stopped, the members and staff at TOP were already busy checking on each other’s welfare, and delivering help when needed.

We’re still doing that, calling our members, assessing their needs and providing emergency items, whether it’s a toothbrush, a tarp or helping them find emergency shelter. We’re also visiting shelters and pitching in to help clean up the damage caused by the storm.

If you or someone you know needs help, please let us know. We want to help wherever we can. You can reach us at (832) 582-0061. If we can’t help you directly, we will help connect you to the right resources.

Harvey TOP reliefWe also know that there are many of you who want to help. As we reach our members and visit shelters, we are compiling a list of needs and will share it with you early next week. In the meantime, if you would like to volunteer with us, please sign up here so we can contact you.

And beyond meeting people’s immediate needs, we’re also starting to plan a longer-term strategy for supporting people as they work to replace what’s been lost and rebuild their lives. We know from experience that what a hurricane washes away in a few hours can take years to rebuild, and we want to be there for our communities to ensure that their needs are not ignored.

To help do the immediate, short, and long term work of ensuring a full recovery for low-income and communities of color, we’ve partnered with other Houston-area organizations to launch a fund, and we’ve been very fortunate to have national allies who know and trust our work, promoting this fund to their networks. If you’d like to donate to the Harvey Community Relief Fund, click here.

By coming together and relying on each other, we will get through this. As the t-shirts we wore at our last leadership academy read: We will rise!

In solidarity,
Michelle Tremillo
Executive Director
Texas Organizing Project Education Fund