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disaster response Archives • Upbring

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Hurricane Harvey: The Road to Rebuilding

Tomorrow, as the sun rises on a new day, one can’t help but think back to this time a year ago when windows were boarded up and grocery store shelves were empty as Hurricane Harvey made landfall in South Texas. It’s hard to believe 365 days have passed since the destructive storm terrorized our state – shattering records, leaving 68 people dead and making a significant impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands. Homes and streets were flooded. People spent days lofted on their roofs waiting for rescue teams to alleviate them from increasingly high waters. Food and water supplies diminished too quickly. Several regions of our state were in chaos.

But as always, we as Americans showed our resilience and banded together to help impacted families. With support from generous friends, not only in Texas but across the country, Upbring stood with the community, helping families find food, clothing, medical assistance and safe, clean shelter. We also had the resources to provide our Foster In Texas families with stipends that helped cover essentials like travel costs, temporary housing, clothing and diapers. For those affected by this horrific storm, the generous support and donations that poured in helped ease their minds and allowed them to focus on rebuilding without the fear of where their next meal would come from, if they would have a roof over their heads and if their children would be comforted after days of living in fear.

Together, we stood strong in the face of tragedy and made an immediate difference in the lives of families who needed our help. Still, thousands more are continuously working to rebuild their lives, and Upbring will stand with them. Our Disaster Response Team is preparing to mobilize and take over case management for families in need in South Texas. We ask that you keep our team and the families they will serve in your prayers.

 

ICYMI: We shared six tips to help you prepare for a hurricane. Check them out here.

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Are You Prepared for a Hurricane?

132 mph winds, 27 trillion gallons of rain and, tragically, 88 lives lost – Hurricane Harvey carved a destructive path across the Gulf Coast last fall. Harvey went down as the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in Texas since 1961, and many families are still working to rebuild their lives.

Natural disasters can happen suddenly, with little to no warning. As Harvey’s 1-year anniversary approaches, the Upbring family encourages you to make a plan for protecting your family during hurricane season.

 

Here are 6 simple hurricane preparedness tips for the 2018 hurricane season:

1.  Stock an emergency preparedness kit with essentials such as food, water, medications, first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries and cash. Be sure to include your pets’ essentials.

 

2.  Keep important documents in a safe place, or create password-protected, digital copies as part of your hurricane preparedness plan.

 

3.  Protect your property by decluttering drains and gutters to prevent flooding, installing check valves in plumbing to prevent backups, and considering hurricane shutters. Remember that homeowners’ and renters’ insurance do not typically cover flood damages, but flood insurance does.

 

4.  Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. During disasters, sending text messages is usually faster and more reliable than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded. The American Red Cross Safe & Well website allows you to tell family and friends you are safe during a disaster.

 

5.  You might have to leave home quickly, so prepare an evacuation plan. Review your evacuation zone and route, and learn where emergency shelters are located. Keep your car in good working condition and your gas tank full. Stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes for each member of your family. Finally, and most importantly, never ignore an evacuation order.

 

6.  Sign up for disaster alerts to stay up-to-date during a disaster. You can also download apps by the American Red Cross, the Weather Channel and FEMA.

 

More resources

For more information about protecting your home and family during hurricane season, visit these websites:

 

LSS Disaster Response – Here for the short and long haul

In Harvey’s wake, Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response was there to meet families’ immediate needs by providing emergency hardship grants and helping them find food, clothing, medical assistance and safe, clean shelter. Because of your support, we are also there for the long haul, offering assistance for future preparedness, emotional and spiritual care, volunteer coordination and long-term recovery.

 

On behalf of the many families impacted by Hurricane Harvey, thank you for your prayers, your donations and the gift of your volunteer efforts. Together, we are supporting families during difficult circumstances and allowing them to focus on creating safe, loving homes for their children.

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How To Create a Fundraiser Campaign on Facebook to Help Upbring Serve Children & Families Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Upbring and those we serve need of immediate assistance.


More than 350 of our families that Upbring serves were impacted by Hurricane Harvey — with many more at risk as subsequent flooding and lingering storms unfold.

Upbring works to provide for the needs of families throughout the year, but now, more than ever, they need  our help.

Please invite your friends and family to join us as we work together to raise $25,000. Setting up a fundraiser on Facebook is easy, and the funds will come directly to Upbring.

How To Create a Fundraiser Campaign on Facebook

  1. Go to https://www.facebook.com/pg/UpbringOrg/fundraisers/
  2. Click ‘Raise Money.’
  3. Pick a manageable goal for your community to help you meet. We suggest starting with $500, as you can always increase your goal if you reach it.
  4. Limit the time frame to 1-3 days (create a sense of urgency).
  5. Under “Why You Are Raising Money,” simply copy and paste the following text: “Right now, Upbring is working urgently to raise $25,000 for Texas families who are being affected by Hurricane Harvey in Houston. I’m raising money for Upbring Disaster Response, and I would love for you to join me. Every little bit helps! This cause means a lot to me, and I believe we can make a difference together. If you are unable to donate, you can still help by sharing this link with your friends and spreading the word. For more information about Upbring, go to: https://www.upbring.org/programs-and-services/community-services/disaster-response 
  6. Share the fundraiser with your friends and family.
  7. Ask your friends and family to ‘invite’ friends if they aren’t able to give.

Together, we can show our Texas children and incredible families  they are seen, cared for and loved. Together, we can offer hope, and help, to those who need it most.

Image courtesy KHOU

Upbring Disaster Response - Central Texas Floods
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Central Texas Floods (October 2013)

Central Texas Floods

We began assisting victims immediately following the floods. We served our clients as Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response (LSSDR). While our name has changed to Upbring Disaster Response, we remain diligent to our mission to serve those impacted by disasters in the Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana areas.

Halloween Flood Disaster Response

In Austin, the “Halloween Floods” from October 2013 presented several challenges for the Onion Creek and other South Austin communities. The request for a federal declaration to provide individual assistance to impacted families was rejected. This resulted in the denial of financial resources to hundreds of families in need.  A number of these families are elderly and/or disabled and living on a fixed income of primarily social security benefits.

Many families are attempting to move forward with recovery. However, there are also many whose homes reside in floodplains and will be unable to repair/rebuild on their current sites. The City of Austin, including some cases in Travis County, has been operating a buyout program for homes in these floodplains that pre-dates this flood event. As more homes are added to that buyout list, the issue remains that the city and county do not have the funds available to complete the buyouts.

Funding issues have put a number of families in limbo, as delayed resources prevent relocation, and utilizing limited repair funds is not feasible in such circumstances. Currently, some progress is being made to prioritize cases and free up buyout funding.

We stepped in to help victims shortly after the devastating floods in the Pflugerville, Onion Creek, Manchaca, Buda, Del Valle, San Marcos and Wimberley areas. We remain with these families, assisting them through the long term recovery.