Texas – Hurricane Response and Recovery
In partnership with the Episcopal dioceses of Texas and West Texas, Episcopal Relief & Development provided assistance such as support for temporary housing and gift cards to help affected individuals and families purchase food, water and other basics immediately after Hurricane Harvey hit. The US Disaster team continues to work with both dioceses to respond to needs, including providing meals and rebuilding homes as they map out long-term recovery strategies.
Episcopal Diocese of Texas
Episcopal Relief & Development and the Episcopal Diocese of Texas continue to meet the urgent needs of people across the impacted region.
Initial emergency support included the distribution of gift cards to purchase food, water and other supplies as well as funding for temporary housing for people who lost their homes. Spiritual care teams provided compassionate care and distributed gift cards to those impacted by the storm. Diocesan leaders continue to map out plans for relief and recovery activities based on the needs of congregations and communities.
Katie Mears, Director of the US Disaster Program, and key members of Episcopal Relief & Development’s Partner in Response team traveled to the area during the fall of 2017 to assist diocesan and congregational leaders with assessments and ongoing recovery strategies.
Episcopal Relief & Development continues to work with the diocese to support the work of congregations and church partners. To help lead recovery efforts, The Rev. Stacy Stringer, the rector of Holy Trinity Church in Dickinson, was named Director of Hurricane Recovery for the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. During Hurricane Harvey, she coordinated relief efforts and provided a strong pastoral presence for vulnerable members of her congregation and the Dickinson community. The needs are still great in affected communities.
Hurricane Harvey devastated many coastal communities, leaving them without power, accessible roads and a viable infrastructure. Thousands were forced to seek shelter and many lost their homes. Low lying areas of West Texas, more remote than other parts of the state, were badly flooded. Assistance was urgently needed.
Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas to support affected communities. Initially, the diocese provided gift cards to those living in impacted areas along the southern Texas Coast, including the west side of Corpus Christi, four inland communities and the coastal areas of Rockport and Port Aransas. These gift cards enabled residents to purchase food, water and basic hygiene products as well as cleaning supplies, power tools and other equipment.
Katie Mears, Director of the US Disaster Program and The Rev. Elaine Clements, a key member of Episcopal Relief & Development’s Partner in Response team, visited the diocese of West Texas to assess damage and to assist in planning relief and recovery efforts. As part of its long-term plans, the diocese hired Jennifer Wickman to serve as Bishop’s Deputy for Disaster Recovery. In this role, she is developing a long-term disaster recovery strategy with a focus on meeting unmet needs including financial support for rebuilding supplies and assistance with child care.
Read the latest blog: 8 Stories of Recovery in the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey
Watch this video on the response to Hurrivane Harvey: Hurricane relief at St. Stephen’s Church in Beaumont, TX
Disasters Can Teach the Church Lessons About How to Respond in the Future, Episcopal News Service