Amidst the organized chaos there was a work flow that made sense this morning at the Moms and Ladies of SW Houston Brown Bag Flood Relief Project. Sitting in that room at Westbury Church and talking to these women was awe inspiring and humbling. This is a group of selfless women. They have jobs, families and lives, but when they saw a need from neighbors, some they knew and most they didn’t, they all rose together and unified into a remarkable force to help those who needed flood relief, regardless of age, race, religion or socioeconomic status.
Houston Brown Bag Flood Relief Project
Today was the Houston Brown Bag Relief Project that the Moms and Ladies of SW Houston held. When J-Vibe Online Magazine walked in, there were tables set up into stations and brown bags that were to be filled to be delivered to different quadrants of neighborhoods that had been hit by the Houston flood and needed food. The ladies didn’t know how many volunteers would show up or who would show up, but the turn out was not disappointing.
Men, women, children and teens were all there to lend a helping hand, some of whom had been helped by these ladies and had lost everything themselves in the floods. Some were building sandwiches and some were filling bags. Others were driving and being handed maps. There were cleaning supplies and safety gear included and donations were also being handled. A round table was set up at the front of the room, which was the command center, and by 9:30 am, the entire room was buzzing with activity, and by 11:00 am everyone was off on their deliveries, when they would then return for round 2.
What struck us the most was the organizational roles that these women had automatically taken on. The work flow wasn’t assigned to any of these ladies, but because of their chosen professions, these ladies stepped up and automatically took to these roles like a fish does to water. You wouldn’t know that these women didn’t know each other before the Houston floods had occurred, and now they know they will be lifelong friends.
Moms and Ladies of SW Houston
The Moms and Ladies of SW Houston hit the ground running as soon as flood relief was needed. They started to canvas neighborhoods and handing out water and Gatorade, they started a meal drive and deliver to over 60 homes a night meals from Snap kitchen, they have delivered pillows and clothing, done laundry, restocked refrigerators and helped move furniture out of homes. There is no stopping them, and they aren’t quitting anytime soon.
They describe it as a “Pandora’s Box”. They just opened the lid, and once that lid was opened, and they went to these peoples homes and saw the devastation it made them want to do more. It didn’t matter to them if they were Black or White, Jewish or Christian, rich or poor. In a crisis, these people were all the same and needed help and sometimes a hug and a shoulder to cry on.
The Moms and Ladies of SW Houston has described this as:
The most important collaboration and heartfelt collaboration ever seen, including the City of Houston collaborating.
If all communities could do this, every city would be okay for generations to come.
This teaches us a lesson that everybody should know their neighbor and that should be their first line of defense in case of another emergency situation.
Flood Relief to Date
To date, these ladies have had three drives and they have all been hugely successful. Their system is now a well-oiled machine. They have paired up with Nechama and the JCC to send out major clean up jobs and they are working on coordinating with larger organizations for after the clean up is done, so they can continue to do their good work. They use the portal and have noticed that the clean up is going well and to date, there is roughly 2,000 work orders inputted of homes that need flood relief.
But, they also know that is not an accurate number, as many people who showed up at the drive were people in need of assistance and had not even reported their losses to FEMA or to 311 or 211. It can’t be stressed enough the importance of making those first steps, so that the flood victims can receive the help that they need.
Call to Action
The Moms and Ladies of SW Houston asked J-Vibe to put out a call to action for everyone, which is so vital…
Continue to remember the flood victims, even after the clean up is done, because the work will be far from over. People will need places to go while they rebuild and furniture to fill those spaces. Right now, most flood victims have no where to put furniture, so the ladies have started a list of people who have furniture and household goods to donate and those that need them once they get settled. If you have donations or need donations, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be put on the list! When you find housing, you send an email and report what you need and it is coordinated and the needs are filled.
Everybody’s reality of what they are going through is different with the flooding and the flood relief and the Moms and Ladies of SW Houston are just happy to be able to provide some help to those in need. We consider them all #marvelousmavens and Angels and think that if they put their mind to it, they could #rebuildhouston on their own!