Locals pitch in to help relief effort in Houston


GREENVILLE — Zach Heindl, of Greenville, Ohio, has always wanted to help out when a natural disaster strikes, he said.

“I never thought of a good way to help,” he said. “And I never knew that I knew so many people, until I started looking.”

He is speaking of the “Project Hope for Houston”, which is a newly-formed collaboration of community members working toward the disaster relief.

Hurricane Harvey is expected to be one of the most disastrous storms to ever hit the United States—eclipsing even Superstorm Sandy that hammered New York and New Jersey in 2012. According to the National Hurricane Service’s (NHS) August 30 posting, Harvey has continued to weaken since this afternoon as the center has moved farther inland over Louisiana. It should be noted that despite Harvey’s weakening, heavy rainfall and flooding are forecast to occur along the path of Harvey during the next few days, but its faster forward speed should keep subsequent rainfall amounts well below what occurred along the northwest Gulf coast, the NHS report said.

According to Heindl, Person Centered Services (PCS), of Greenville, put out a feeler on Facebook about offering help.

“And it has blown up with people trying to help left and right,” Heindl said. “We are trying to get together as many truckloads as possible. We have a contact with a trucking business and some CDL drivers, but we need more drivers. We also need VISA gift cards for gas expenses.”

PCS Direct Support Professional and Bus Driver Melinda Segura said efforts are in the works to make the initiative as big as possible.

“We are doing this as a center,” she said. “We will e-mail our sister companies, about 11, who are also accepting donations. Some of our clients here will be helping out with receiving, sorting and getting donations ready to load on the trucks.”

Heindl said he reached out to his pastor at the Evangelical United Methodist (EUM) Church, in Greenville and said he wanted to help. The pastor was supportive and Heindle ended up with the coordinator position of “Project Hope for Houston.” The project is broken down into three phases: Phase One-immediate needs; Phase Two-clean-up and Phase Three-Integration. “Project Hope for Houston” is working in Phase Two. This truck is leaving from Greenville the morning of Friday, September 15. Donations are due by Thursday, September 14.

Donations needed for this truck are new and unopened: Cleaning agents; Disinfecting agents, such as: bleach, toilet bowl cleaners, bathroom cleaners and tile/grout cleaners; Cleaning tools, such as: brooms, dust pans, shop brooms, scoop shovels, buckets, wheel barrows, utility knives and replacement razors; Disposal items, such as: contractor trash bags, big regular trash bags and cheap tarps; Safety and Personal protective equipment items, such as: safety glasses and goggles, rubber gloves, boxes of nitrile gloves (powder free), respirator masks for viruses and fumes/vapors, hard hats and Tyvek suits and booties.

Again, everything must be new. Do not send clothing, food or anything that is not on the list. Heindl was told by his Houston contact that food and clothing are coming in floods and they do not need that right now. They are working on immediate needs of shelter. Without shelter, there is no place to put the food and clothing.

In other efforts, Darke County 4-H has published relief support information online. Darke County Extension Director, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development Rhonda Williams said 4-H needs to get the word out, because a lot of clubs, individually help in cases like this. Texas has been understandably slow in getting information out, she said.

“The best thing we can do is request people to send money to their 4-H foundations, and they can use that money to purchase supplies there and get what is needed,” Williams said. “When one of us needs help, we all look out for each other. It doesn’t matter what state we are in; we are one big community.”

Northern Miami Valley Ohio Red Cross Chapter Executive Director Lynne Gump said its efforts include sending out and recruiting volunteers. Volunteers will be sent in several ways to help with the disaster.

“The majority of what they do in Texas is sheltering, mass care feeding and making sure they have safe places to sleep,” Gump said. “Until the flood waters recede and people see how much damage they have, there is not much else to do. So far, the Northern Miami Valley Ohio Red Cross Chapter has sent 24 volunteers from the area to Houston, including two from Darke County. Sending volunteers to Houston leaves local vacancies, requiring more volunteers to fill them.”

“One of the couples we sent to Houston a week ago does a lot in our Smoke Alarm Program,” she said. “Now, we need to find another team to install smoke alarms. We don’t stop what we do regularly.”

Some ways to help Houston are as follows:

  • Funds can be sent to the Greater Houston Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity. Visit https://ghcf.org/hurricane-relief;
  • Text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the American Red Cross; Visit RedCross.org, call 1-800-REDCROSS to volunteer or donate money;
  • Visit the 4-H foundation website: texas4hfoundation.org or send money to Texas 4-H Youth Development Foundation, Attn: 4HSupportsTexas Fund P.O. Box 11020, College Station, Texas, 77842.
  • Local Drop-off locations for the supplies listed above are: PCS, Inc. 5844 Jaysville-St. Johns Road, Greenville, Ohio, 45331, 937-548-6025; EUM Church, 1451 Sater Street or 111 Devor Street, Greenville, Ohio, 45331, 937-548-3211.

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Hurricane Harvey is expected to be one of the most disastrous storms to ever hit the United States—eclipsing even Superstorm Sandy that hammered New York and New Jersey in 2012. Locals are trying to help with the disaster effort.
http://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_hurricane-3.jpgHurricane Harvey is expected to be one of the most disastrous storms to ever hit the United States—eclipsing even Superstorm Sandy that hammered New York and New Jersey in 2012. Locals are trying to help with the disaster effort. Courtesy photo

Zach Heindl, of Greenville, Ohio, is part of “Project Hope for Houston”, a local initiative to help with the Hurricane Harvey disaster.
http://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_hurricane2-3.jpgZach Heindl, of Greenville, Ohio, is part of “Project Hope for Houston”, a local initiative to help with the Hurricane Harvey disaster. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

By Carolyn Harmon

charmon@dailyadvocate.com

The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.