Hurricane Harvey Relief Donations from PITT

For: Hurricane Harvey Evacuees
Houston, TX
Organizer: Erikah Abdu
Hurricane Harvey Relief Donations from PITT (Hurricane Harvey Evacuees)
$3,281
of $5,000 goal.
Raised by 60 donors
65% Complete

The Story

Only 15% of Houston's population have flood insurance. 60k have been displaced and a projected 450k will be seeking assistance as a result of Harvey's devastation. There have been 150k claims so far, and the death toll is 34. 
I was fortunate to not have any damage to mine or my family's homes, but the number of people who reached out to ask about our well being has been overwhelming. Majority of those folks were friends from my alma mater University of Pittsburgh. I sent out a text to my friends and sorority sisters from PITT letting them know that I was okay but that I really wanted to help those who have been affected. I began to receive donations from them within a matter of minutes.

I went to Aldi that same day and purchased as many items as I could. Since then I have been to an assortment of shelters, churches, and schools to donate and volunteer only through the continued support of my dedicated and thoughtful Alumnis and friends. I will continue to go to as many stores and gas stations that I can to purchase necessities and go to different shelters around the City. I am from and work for the City of Houston so I am beyond compelled to aid my fellow Houstonians. 

Houston has really outdone itself so far with the collaboration efforts but there are still SO many people who need our help. 
I created this fundraising vehicle to make the donations process more lucid for those of you looking to write off and track expenses. I will include pictures of items purchased and receipts for transparency.

Thank you so much for your help. I have 2 iPhone group text messages going where I am updating folks with real time activity and donation efforts. If you would like to be added or to receive updates please text me 832-766-9996. Sincerely, Erikah.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on September 7, 2017

Posted on September 7, 2017

Hello Guys, I know it has been a while since I have posted an update. I will get better at this. Again please if you have an iPhone and want real-time updates text me at 832-766-9996 (expenses to date $1,137.40)
8-31-17 So, when my sisters and I arrived at Pearland High School, we were informed that the volunteering process had changed and that due to the overwhelming interest of residents to assist they implemented a new system to track and deploy volunteers. So, we were not able to volunteer. Instead we asked them what supplies they needed and headed out to pick up those items, majority of which were cleaning supplies, tarp, and other construction items to go into the folks staying at the high school as a shelter to go and clean up their homes. When we got back to the High School we asked about the gas cards (we purchased 5 for $20 each) the man heading up operations was unsure what to do with them and wanted to leave them in the FEMA office. We decided against that and kept them. I went inside the room where all of the folks were eating and thought I would find families with children and give them, but quickly realized everyone had children which was troubling. I couldn't pick 5 families out of the 300, so I decided I would come back and give to them in the morning when they leave to go tend to their homes. 
9-1-17 The cable was finally restored in my home and I was fixated on the news. Thousands of families were still displaced and there was a shortage of space. Mattress Mack, a local furniture store owner, who is known for his generosity and philanthropy, opened up 2 of his stores as shelters. I was so inspired by him, that I thought maybe I can get my dad to let us use one of his buildings as a shelter. He agreed and said his tenant was moving out in the week. Myself and my friend and fellow Alum Ashley called around and left messages with the Mayor and Texas Commissioner to no avail. Many of the shelters were able to operate under emergency status, but were having to close their doors after 9-1-17. Still have not been able to make any traction in this regard. One of my best friend's from high school, Christina came with me to Walmart to pick up additional items for The Church on Masters Road and the Salvation Army. When we arrived to the Church and asked about them needing the Gas Cards as well one of the organizers text the Pastor (Pastor Lee) and he said he had prayed about gas cards the night before. He was so excited about the donation that he coined a name for the donation "Gas to Get There" as well as made a video, which my dear friend and Alum Gary Curtis compiled into a video to inspire other Alumni to these efforts. 
9-2-17 & 9-4-17 I saw a sale online foe Buy One Get One at a Local Store called Sole Lounge and headed over with the intention to purchase Converse. When we arrived, there were no Converse, mainly Reebok, Asics, and Adidas. There 11 Reebok's left and I was able to purchase all of them for $150 total. I am still looking for high school boys to donate these shoes to (2 Size 8, 2 Size 8.5, 3 Size 9, 1 of each Size 10,11,12, &13) Later that day I saw a post from @KingKeraun saying that various addresses in Houston were in need of supplies. One of which was on Faulkner in South Houston. Went to Sam's thanks to my friend Christina and purchased a bunch of cleaning supplies and non-perishables. My friend Mike came with me to distribute the items and from there we went to Knowles-Rowland Center and donated the remainder of the items as well as stuck around to help them move items to prepare for a shipment coming in from Lakewood Church. Lakewood was no longer going to be a distribution center for donations, so they were sending truck loads of items to Knowles-Rowland to distribute to Beaumont and Port Arthur. 
9-5-17 Came back to work after a week or so off and one of the lady's here that is not fluent in English, showed me a picture of the damage she endured due to Harvey. The ceiling came down in her son's room and ruined his bed, all of his clothes, and some of his furniture. The landlord did not address the issue and she was forced to close the door and not inhabit as there was now black particles flying around the room as a result of the gaping hole. I called the landlord and informed him of the sub-standard conditions he was subjecting her to and he went the same day to fix. This is an example of some of the conditions many Houstonians are in and have no avenue to address these concerns. Her husband did not want to receive any school supplies or clothing for their son, but hopefully she is able to convince him otherwise. We were also able to apply to FEMA for her and hopefully they will provide her some financial assistance, as she did not have renter's insurance. 
Thank you all for continuing this journey with me and I truly appreciate all of the help and encouragement. We are currently trying to pleas to the Chancellor of PITT to assist us with providing families with temporary housing as their homes are built, as FEMA will only provide using for a temporary term and it will take a long while for most people based on the sheer magnitude and expansive nature of Harvey. My friend and fellow Alum Ayeisha Cox drafted an email to send to the Chancellor. We will be finalizing in the coming days and hope you are willing to mail and email a copy soliciting the University's support. Have a great week guys and again Thank you. 

Posted on August 31, 2017

Posted on August 31, 2017

First and foremost thank you to those that have supported and those with intentions to support! 
8-30-17 Took first set of supplies to BBVA Stadium (central collection site for COH) and sorted Children and Men's clothes (pics and receipts included) these items were subsequently distributed to the different Multi Service Centers later in the day. Went to George R Brown for the night shift around 12:30A but they were no longer accepting donations or volunteers. 
8-31-17 Started at Church on Masters Rd in Manvel, TX arrived and helped sort toiletries there was a shortage of Baby Wipes, Women's Undergarments and Hair Ties we left to Dollar Tree and Walmart to get those items came back and got back to work. This was the first time I was able to interact with any of the families so this was the most impactful for me thus far. My friend D'Avia joined this morning and left for Thurgood Marshall to help over there. My sisters and I are now headed to Pearland High School to see what is needed. Will update you guys tomorrow. Stay Blessed and Highly Favored! I have a iPhone GroupMe where I am able to more efficiently provide pics and updates so if you would like to be added please email me with your number. iPhone only. [email protected]

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