My heart is hurting as I watch and read news from Houston and Southeast Texas. My mom and my aunt grew up in Houston. I don't have any family there anymore, but I've spent a lot of time there with family and friends. Through youth group events, I've visited a dozen synagogues in the area. I have many friends from summer camp who live there.
The scale of it is hard to understand. One description I read that I think explains the scope: The Houston metro area takes about four hours to drive across; it is the size of Delaware; it has three times the population of Manhattan; and almost all of it is underwater. It is a vibrant city, with a powerful New Orleans diaspora culture, NASA, industries that drive America, and thriving immigrant cultures and cuisines from every corner of the world.
I hope some of you who are able will join me in donating to any number of organizations working on relieving the suffering on the ground:
- You can donate directly to Red Cross of the Gulf Coast, doing tons of frontline work.
- You can help out the Texas Diaper Bank, which does exactly what it sounds like.
- You can help out Jewish Family Service of Houston, doing great on-the-ground work right now, operating out of the second floor of the director's flooded home.
- You can help out my old summer camp, Greene Family Camp, which is housing refugees right now; they are asking for people to send Wal-Mart gift cards so that people being housed there can pick up essentials. Purchase them here and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to everyone who can afford to help out, and to everyone keeping the people of Southeast Texas in their prayers, thoughts and hearts.
David A.M. Wilensky