There have been a lot of great pieces of advice about supporting those in need floating around on the internet post-Harvey, Irma and beyond. Borrowed from a friend of KTB, below are a few tips on how to help your family,
Be VERY SPECIFIC in your offer to assist. It is difficult to think straight and make decisions when overwhelmed and traumatized. For example, instead of saying "What can I do to help?" Try these specific suggestions:
- Can I come help today until 8 p.m. to get water out of your house?
- Can I come by with baskets and wash your wet clothing at my house?
- Can I bring you lunch/dinner at 1 p.m. today? How many people? Where would you like it delivered? (They are probably not staying in their flooded home)
- Would you like to eat dinner at our house at 8 p.m.? We have clean towels if you want to shower here first. We are serving brisket, potatoes, and salad. (They will look forward to specific meals and enjoy having a concrete plan). Don't be upset if they are late - offer a beer or glass of wine.
- Bring an ice chest full of bottled ice, water, Gatorade, lemonade to their flooded home. The Corp of Engineers is handing out free ice and bottled water. Figure out where the closest location is. Go get some every morning and deliver it to them. Give
familythe location if you have to stop.
- Set up a folding table in their garage/carport with a sign that reads "Return Tools Here." (Write your name and phone number in Sharpie on the table if you want it back in a month or so as they won't remember who brought it)
- Set up a table and chairs in a shaded area outside so workers have a place to take a break, eat a meal, etc... a lot of times you can hose off and disinfect a patio table (1/4 cup bleach per gallon of water.) Leave a bottle of
ibprophenon the table. Put ice chest of drinks close by.
- Order large plastic tubs with tops to store all their belongings - 50 is not too many. If they arrive next week, they will still need them.
- Offer to drive to Bastrop or Austin to purchase supplies to begin muck out as you can be back in 6 hours. Flat shovels, bleach, spray bottles, lightweight electric saw to cut sheetrock, mask, safety goggles, bags of industrial rag packs (can be washed and reused), industrial trash bags, Wheel barrel, disinfectant, 5-gallon buckets, etc...
- If you are out of town and want to help,
- Can I loan you a car for a week?
- Can call in, refill, and deliver a prescription for you?
- Can I pick up your kids, take them to my house to play, and then drop them off at the end of the day? Is 8 p.m. a good time?