Historic. Catastrophic. Unprecedented. Massive. Devastating. Life-changing. I cringe as I write these words. While they certainly describe Hurricane Harvey, these words also tell the story of the real, human lives of millions of people. People that lost their home and everything they own when the winds flattened everything in its path and the flood waters rose. People who will have to spend days and weeks in an evacuation shelter. People who will have to find a new place to call home. People who will are facing months or even years of rebuilding their lives.
Many of my family members were displaced in a massive and historic flood in 1997 in North Dakota. I know the heartache. I understand the utter and complete feeling of helplessness. And I am fully aware of the long and grueling process to repair and rebuild.
I also know how important “community” is in times like this. A community that helps the evacuee from 200 miles away feel welcome. A community that provides their guests with the necessities, like food, water, clothes, or simply a hug. A community that will provide financial and volunteer support from day one. A community that rallies together to help our neighbors in need.
For almost 30 years I have lived in Williamson County. I have seen the generosity of so many of my friends, neighbors and colleagues time and again. We are a giving community. Helping our neighbors – even if they are 200 miles away – is what we do. And we don’t toot our own horn, or pat ourselves on the back. We step up to help our neighbor in need because Williamson County cares.
United Way of Williamson County is here to make it easier for you to your neighbors affected by Hurricane Harvey. We are coordinating two efforts to show how much #WilcoCares.
First, we need you to donate money. Money is the single most important thing that will help folks rebuild. You can click here to donate online, you can text WilcoCares to 91999 to donate on your mobile device or you can send a check to United Way of Williamson County, P.O. Box 708, Round Rock, TX 78680. Your donations will be tax-deductible. (This might be a good time to remind you that donations to 501(c)3 organizations are the only donations that are tax-deductible. Donations made to personal fundraisers are generally not tax-deductible.)
Second, we need you to donate personal items and cleaning supplies. We are collecting essential cleaning supplies that the evacuees (and volunteers) will need once they return to clean up their apartments and homes. You can find our list of items here along with the list of businesses that are generously partnering with us so that there is a drop off nearby. We will be collecting donations through September 15th.
100% of the financial donations and supplies to United Way of Williamson County will be used to help with both the immediate and long-term needs of individuals and families in the smaller communities where resources are limited. Won’t you join us in this very important work? Because……#WilcoCares!
Chief Professional Officer