Most of us by now could easily identify Houston, Texas on a map. But how about Patton Village, Texas?
A small town on the northern outskirts of Houston, Patton Village wasn't spared the fury of Hurricane Harvey. C21 Redwood Arlington agent Karen Sparks' nephew-in-law and his family were numbered among the countless survivors who bore the brunt of Hurricane Harvey. They'd owned the home that was destroyed by wind and rain for less than a year, and their two cars were totaled as well. Now, Karen's nephew, his wife, their two dogs, their three year old and their 8 week old have temporarily relocated to the very small home of her nephew's mother-in-law.
Karen and her husband David Blahuta held their own fundraiser - they received an overwhelming response from their neighbors, fellow school parents, other friends and family. Karen used Facebook to reach out, and her shared post inspired several young people to coordinate bake sales, collect cash and to come help load the truck and collect items at the donation site. Karen and David drove down with the items they'd collected to help, and Karen recounted what she'd witnessed in words and pictures. Here's what she saw:
“Seeing the damage in person and talking with the volunteers and people affected by Harvey has been quite an experience. The streets are lined with the contents of people’s homes.
Walls are ripped out and the guts of the homes exposed while trying to dry to prevent mold. There is an awful smell from the wet debris and sewage and the mosquitos are thick everywhere.
About half (2700) of the homes in the small town of Patton Village were affected. When you drive through the towns on the main roads, it is hard to tell they had been previously completely covered by water. Things look pretty normal until you drive into the neighborhoods. The streets are lined with piles of debris that will be there for some time. Disposing of the massive amount of debris I am sure will be a challenge.”
Although Karen notes it was so sad and hard to be there, with a feeling of helplessness when she realized that it will months and even years before rebuilding can truly begin again for them, she also heard heartwarming stories from the people she met.
“The resolve of these people, though to help each other and take care of each other is remarkable. These ladies have been unloading trucks, sorting donations, loading people’s cars with needed items and making sure that those who cannot get to them get what they need. They are here everyday in 90+ degrees!
They asked us to pray with them before we left and then sent us on our way with a handmade prayer blanket for safe travels and handmade soaps made by a widow’s group from Tennessee!”
Karen and David left with an empty truck and full hearts, and returned to spread that every little bit that you can donate will help. People will welcome and appreciate whatever you can spare in the form of food and cleaning supplies. If you'd like to help the people of Patton Village, Texas and its neighbors, you can send items via Amazon or ship directly to this address 16940 Main Street, Splendora, Texas 77372:
Thank you to Karen and David, and to everyone who supported them in collecting and supplying the items they drove down with. Please continue to support the survivors of Hurricane Harvey, however you can.