From the USNA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION's Tx Gulf Coast Chapter & Foundation

Harvey Relief, Service and Funding

Harvey moved on and has left destruction in its wake, we all need to pull together and serve our communities as best we can. Undoubtedly, most of us have already gotten involved in ways that we've been able to, but to further unite our efforts and provide some guidance on how best to serve the over 40,000 people affected by the storm, we have the following info. Additionally, we are on a daily call with all of the local Veteran Service Organizations (VSO's) so we will continue to update everyone using our Facebook page as needs are identified:
 
Relief and Recovery
 
If your home was flooded or you have any other needs, please notify as soon as possible us so we can rally support your way, but also register with Combined Arms as someone in need so that our area VSO's can assist even if you already feel like you have the help you need. Sign up on the homepage at combinedarms.us.
 
Service to Community
 
There are many ways to serve our community in the coming months, both formally and informally, but in order to get volunteers, veterans and civilians alike, to the right places at the right time, it is best to register ahead of time and provide assistance when requested:
 
- Combined Arms: Combined Arms is coordinating the overall Houston area veteran response. You can register on their homepage (combinedarms.us) in two ways- by letting them know your skills and availability or by singing up for a specific volunteer job. From there, they will get you linked up with the other VSO's working in the area where your skills and availability best line up, including all of the below organizations. Additionally, if you can house volunteers traveling from out of town, you can also regiser your home under a link on the homepage. Outside of our Facebook page, keep checking Combined Arms' Facebook group and homepage for daily updates.
 
- The Mission Continues: The Mission Continues has 5 Houston area service platoons that already serve in underserved communities. They will continue to operate in these communities, but with a special focus on recovery from Harvey. For instance, the 2nd Service Platoon, led by a Navy veteran, serves the Independence Heights community where 60% - 75% of homes were flooded and they have received very little support in the initial aftermath. These are the kinds of places where you can make a big impact. Register for events, to serve in a Platoon, or just to learn more about the areas they serve, at missioncontinues.org.
 
- Team Rubicon: Team Rubicon is an excellent Veteran disaster response group that got its start after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. They operate more like a military unit and deploy as a group, both for rescue efforts and recovery efforts. If you would like to become a party of their effort, sign up on their website, take the 3 required online training modules (about 6 hours of training), wait a couple of days for the background check to clear, and then you will be able to deploy with them as part of the recovery effort: teamrubiconusa.org.
 
- Travis Manion Foundation: The local chapter of the Travis Manion Foundation is pivoting from their typical mission to meet the needs of the community. Currently they are manning the "Command and Control" at Combined Arms and coordinating logistics. They need volunteers to help support this effort, but also, if you know of any supplies coming into Houston that need a place to go, let us know so we can contact the right person at TMF and have those supplies routed to the people that really need them. Or, if you know of a place with needs, let us and TMF know so we can get the right supplies to them. The best way to do this is by emailing taskforcebayouthunder@combinedarms.us.  For more information on what TMF is working on in the local area, follow them on Facebook or go to the Houston area link on their webpage, http://www.travismanion.org/
 
- Career Gear: Career Gear Houston will commence disbursing relief items from their Houston location today, 1 September. They are still taking donations and need volunteers. For more information, check https://www.careergearhouston.org/index.html
 
- Lone Star Veterans Association: LSVA has stood up a call center to reach out to all of their members and find out their needs. They have already begun mucking out 6 veteran homes. And they need both veterans to help man the call centers and to help muck out flooded homes. Visit: http://www.lonestarveterans.org/.
 
- Grace After Fire: GAF is collecting toiletries and clothing to specifically meet the needs of women displaced by the storm. Donations can be dropped off at the Combined Arms center at 2929 McKinney St from 0900 - 1600, September 5th through the 15th. Their website is: http://www.graceafterfire.org/
 
- The Houston Food Bank: The Houston Food Bank has re-opened and will need volunteers to prepare meals. A good way to take part is to text "DisasterVOL" to 51555 so you will be registered to be notified when they need you. More info at  http://www.houstonfoodbank.org/get-involved/harvey-disaster-relief/
 
Funding
 
Often, the truly best way to help is by providing funding to the organizations already out there working. There are many great organizations on the ground here in Houston providing critical assistance who have Harvey specific funds, from the Salvation Army and the SPCA to the Red Cross and the United Way, but two good Houston specific charities are:
 
- The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund (administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation): https://ghcf.org/hurricane-relief/
 
- The Houston Food Bank (every $1 provides 3 meals): http://www.houstonfoodbank.org/get-involved/harvey-disaster-relief/
 
In times of trouble, Naval Academy graduates have always stepped up to meet the challenge. We will continue to do so in the months ahead.
 
Very Respectfully,

Matt Guyton USNA'07, President, TxGC Chapter & Foundation
John Augusto USNA'02, Chapter Trustee & Past President, TxGC Chapter
Bret Leach USNA'08, Vice President, TxGC Foundation

Visit the TX Gulf Coast Chapter website for the latest updates.

 

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