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Stories

Resiliency: An Update On Our Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

Jessie Chambers

Brian McGown, Bridging For Tomorrow Board Treasurer

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­In the days following Hurricane Harvey, each person I spoke with had a different story. Many of the stories I heard were of complete devastation followed by the long road to restoration. I also heard stories of families who didn’t have any flooding, but left the safety of their homes to help those whose houses were under several feet of water. I heard story after story of neighbor helping neighbor, friend helping friend, and survivor helping other survivors. The one story that I have yet to hear is that of someone who was in need, but no one was willing to help. That is the spirit of Houston. That is the spirit of the community we serve. And, ultimately, that is the Spirit of God using His people to strategically place the right person and resources exactly where they are needed!

You’ve heard us say before that Bridging For Tomorrow is in the community, for the community, and with the community. This mantra is not just true when a tragedy hits, but an everyday commitment to our neighbors. Bridging For Tomorrow was here before Harvey and will be here long after the hurricane is a distant memory. While the devastation of the storm is still fresh in our minds, I want to celebrate the hard work and generosity of so many community members who enabled Bridging For Tomorrow’s response to be quick and impactful.

Within hours of the storm, the Bridging For Tomorrow staff was already planning a response without yet knowing the full scope of need. In a few days, Bridging For Tomorrow coordinated over 100 volunteers (who amassed over 450 volunteer hours) to put together 2,000 bags of food that were distributed to families in need through local schools and our food pantry. Bridging For Tomorrow gave over $24,000 to the Harvey Relief Fund that is being used to meet the specific needs (rent, clothing, supplies) of families in our community. We also partnered with Klein ISD through a fund created when a teacher designed and sold “Klein Strong” t-shirts to help the Klein community. As of today, Bridging For Tomorrow has received over $15,000 through that fund and every penny has gone to support Klein ISD students and their families who were affected by Harvey. The food, volunteers, and financial support that Bridging For Tomorrow was able to provide to the community came at a crucial time in the lives of many families, and would not have bene possible without hundreds of Community Builders stepping up and showing up.

It is in times of crisis that our character is tested. Hardship is hard and there are no easy fixes to devastating loss, but I believe that the Lord will redeem and use all that has happened. I am reminded of a hymn by Watchman Nee:

Olives that have known no pressure
No oil can bestow;
If the grapes escape the winepress,
Cheering wine can never flow;
Spikenard only through the crushing,
Fragrance can diffuse.
Shall I then, Lord, shrink from suff’ring

Which Thy love for me would choose?
Each blow I suffer
Is true gain to me.
In the place of what Thou takest
Thou dost give Thyself to me. 

Might we continue to be a people who never let our neighbor suffer “the winepress” alone as we know that though the pain is real, the result of the “pressure” produces a sweet fragrance called resiliency. Thank you for being a part of the resiliency of our community!