August 24th, category 4 Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the coast of Texas. Over the next few days Harvey ripped through causing catastrophic damage across the southeast coast line between Corpus Christi and up to Houston.
Many residents of Ingleside and Rockport – both small towns east of Corpus Christi were evacuated as officials feared the worst – complete destruction. As the rain began to lessen, San Antonio RRT members traveled down to the coast to survey the damage and scout out where they could help. After discussing our mission with folks, the Ingleside authorities agreed to let us bring relief buckets to their residents.
Sunday August 27th, 5 vehicles loaded with relief items and 21 volunteers made the 2.5-hour drive into Ingleside, TX. There RRT was met with heart-rending destruction – houses brought to rubble, power poles broken and wires strewn across streets and highways, trees snapped and twisted as if they were twigs, flooding and much more…. However, the residents showed strength and resilience. They had weathered Harvey and they weren’t giving up now!
RRT set up in a local park at Ingleside and began assembling the relief buckets. This included: a 5 gallon RRT bucket, water bottles, chips, granola bars, garbage bags and a bar of soap. Quickly the RRT volunteers assembled the buckets and began handing them out to the residents who stood patiently in.
As the evening approached the line of residents dwindled – RRT members collected the remaining buckets and went into the neighbourhoods in search for more residents who hadn’t received buckets. In a short time, the remaining buckets were distributed to the residents and RRT members began packing up.
RRT was grateful for the opportunity to show our support and compassion for the victims and their families of Ingleside and Rockport.
On 2 September 2017, 27 RRT volunteers loaded 7 trucks and 5 trailers with tents, buckets, water bottles and other supplies and headed eastwards to Harris County, Houston.
With the aid of a local constable, RRT was able to set up their trailers and tent at the brink of the flooded region. Within a few short minutes an assembly line had been created. Each bucket was labelled, filled with a dozen water bottles, and then filled with the remaining items for Hurricane Harvey victims. Mouthwash, hand sanitizer, toilet paper and granola bars were among the items in each bucket as well as the much-needed water bottles. Within minutes locals began walking by, visibly grateful for the supplies. Word soon spread and more and more buckets full of necessities were disappearing.
A tow truck appeared and the driver was willing to drive thru the flooded streets with the filled RRT buckets of supplies. A few minutes later, over a dozen buckets had been loaded into his truck and several RRT volunteers went into the flooded areas and helped distribute the buckets to needy families who couldn’t safely navigate thru the flooded area. RRT worked non-stop for over 3 hours, until all 1,211 plastic 5-gallon buckets and 14,532 water bottles had been given away. The team is looking forward to being able to help other Harvey victims in other areas in the near future!