Picking the right volunteer position for us was much harder than we ever imagined it would be. It’s a personal or maybe spiritual decision for everyone. The purpose of this blog isn’t to bash or negate any certain organization, but when you actually dive into the research of how much goes back to the people, you will be shocked to find out the percentages that never, trickle down to the real, living, breathing humans, and how much never leaves the upper chains pockets. We did so much research and wanted to find an organization with 2 thoughts in mind. #1, dollar for dollar went to the people and #2, we could be involved in talking, hugging and helping the local people directly. We chose RVDC (RV Disaster Corp). Check out their videos, and their website for more information. Click here to check out their website
We arrived in Port Aransas,TX in early December. Not knowing the area or anyone in the city. Watching the devastation on the news is one thing. Seeing it 4 months after the event, having preconceived ideas that “my gosh, it’s been 4 months, it must be better now” … that’s another.
Houses aren’t still falling down … they took care of those right? All the people must have everything they need to survive by now … right? Driving through Port A was humbling, sad, and devastating. The piles and piles throughout the neighborhoods liter the sidewalks. The median on the highway through Rockport has been set up as a staging around for the debris.
The houses … 85% of them missing floors, roofs, ceilings, half falling down, or just a shell at this point. All you can do is repeat “Oh My God” as you drive. We arrived just before Christmas, so the first couple days we were there we helped organize a Christmas party at the community center for the kids. Many new toy donations came in. Books, games, Legos, and Nerf guns. Barbies, dolls, baby toys, make-up and jewelry kits. I overheard one beautiful woman tell her husband how she found the one toy her 1 year old had lost in the house which was his favorite. They lost everything. (They had only 45 minutes to leave their home and literally left with what was in their hands at the time) Her face smiling like she’d just been given the most amazing thing in the world. The kids ran around in the fake foam snow that blew out of the machine that night, stuffing cookies into their mouths after delivering letters to Santa, being loud and carefree. Not a care in the world. Resilience is beautiful! Yet most likely every one of them went home to a tent on the ground at the beach, or an RV as their temporary home. Most of Port A residence are living in tents, cars or RV’s if they are still there.
If they had the means, they left. But so many of them did not. We hugged crying people as they showed us their home barely still standing. Explaining how looters had taken everything that Hurricane Harvey had not. Insurance was much too expensive for most to afford. Between most companies not writing insurance in Port A, and the company or two who still agreed to write insurance for them, but at a very hefty price.
Flood insurance being another luxury to afford.
Most people did not carry any insurance. If they carried one but not the other, some of the loopholes have swallowed them and there was no coverage. It made me completely embarrassed to be an insurance agent. In fact I never offered any advice, and never admitted that I was indeed an insurance agent. How dare these companies putting these people through this. How dare them not make these people understand what they did purchase, and what they didn’t purchase. I won’t name any certain company but there is one Texas state run Insurance company that writes most of the island’s properties and they ought to be completely ashamed of themselves.
What we didn’t expect was to walk away with the feeling that we got something more than we gave. We thought after our 3 week stay we would be anxious to leave and get back on the road. It was just the opposite. We both wanted to stay longer! We have made new life long friends.
If you want to donate to Port A and be certain that every penny gets to the people who need it, please go to this link
PLEASE WATCH OUR VIDEO WE CREATED IN HOPES TO HELP GET SOME DONATIONS WHERE THEY NEEDED TO GO!!
You have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.