As Hurricane Harvey continues to hammer eastern Texas, displacing residents and overwhelming rescue workers, Sigma Chis who live in the Houston area are stepping up to help those in need.
“I was blessed enough that the flooding didn’t hit my house, so I sat around watching the news yesterday. I’m an active guy and I [was] looking around for a way to help and a friend of mine posted on Facebook that a local high school was looking for people to help out,” says Robert Williams, WYOMING 1996, president of Sigma Chi’s Woodlands Alumni Chapter.
According to Williams, the Federal Emergency Management Association set up a makeshift shelter at The Woodlands College Park High School in The Woodlands, a suburb of Houston, that is taking in those who are displaced from their homes due to the hurricane. Williams has been helping there. He says that the shelter, which has close to 200 people working in shifts to help displaced families, is taking donations of all kinds.
“We’re taking in the elderly first [who are in need of shelter]. And then we’re taking in donations of food, clothes [and] blankets. We’ve set up cots in the gym,” Williams says. “It’s really cool what we’re doing here. People from all walks of life are pitching in and helping. Now, we’re busing people in because they can’t get to the shelter.”
The undergraduate chapter at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, is teaming with the Delta Zeta Sorority chapter there to collect canned foods and toiletries for those impacted by the storm. The items will be donated to the Houston Food Bank for distribution.
Even though good Samaritans are doing their best to contribute to the relief effort, rainfall could total 50 inches by the end of the week, according to the National Weather Service. “These people have lost everything,” says Williams of residents he’s seen. “We’re going to try our best to spread good cheer outside of giving them a place [to stay]. We want to be [a source of] moral support as well.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott activated the state National Guard on Monday, bringing the total number of deployed guardsmen to about 12,000 after the storm dumped more than two feet of rain on the Houston area.
“This event is unprecedented and all impacts are unknown and beyond anything experienced. Follow orders from officials to ensure safety,” The National Weather Service tweeted on Sunday.