Hospitality after a Hurricane

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After a hurricane, or a crisis of any type, there are ways that we can be hospitable to our neighbors, community at large, and those on our church.

Here are some really simple suggestions to keep in mind, should you need to respond to a crisis in your area.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have taught us a few things.  After a natural disaster, members of your (or neighboring) community may not have access to:

  • Power
  • Water
  • Food
  • Shelter

If you have POWER:

  • It may be incredibly hot, offer up an afternoon in your cool air conditioning.
  • After a few days, it is amazing how a hot shower can change your mood.
  • Offer up room in your freezer to help a family save what food they can.
  • A mom with bored kids would be happy to charge up her devices.
  • A hot meal is never unappreciated after several days of canned soup and Vienna sausages.
  • Depending on how much time has passed, even offering up your washing machine and dryer can be a blessing to those who need to return to work or school.
  • If you have a generator, and you don’t need it because your power is still working, offer up the generator to a local family to borrow.  Particularly helpful to our elderly, special needs families, and those with illnesses.
  • Even walking the neighborhood with a thermos of hot coffee to share is a welcomed treat.
  • Allowing neighbors to charge up cel phones gives them the opportunity to contact family and let them know they are safe and handle any immediate arrangements.

If you have WATER:

  • Even if they have power, without water a hot shower is still out of the question.  If you have power and water, again… a hot shower or even use of your washing machine and dryer is a gift.
  • If you have clean water, considering passing on your bottled water to those families who don’t have clean water.  Or filling up 5 gallon buckets they can use for bathing until they have water again.
  • If you have power and water, make ziplock bags full of water and freeze them.  Share with families who need ice.
  • Homes that have received damage may need to be cleaned up, a few buckets of water can start the process.
  • Ice cold water is something great to share with the neighbors who are cleaning up their yards, linemen trying to get power and phones restored, etc.

If you have FOOD:

  • Create hot meals for those who have been living off sterno warmed soup and canned goods.
  • Donated your unopened canned goods to local shelters that may be housing residents displaced from their homes.
  • Workers from other states helping restore power, phones, and water won’t have homes to return to each night.  If local restaurants are closed, they may have trouble finding meals.  One thing we have learned is that these guys and gals deserve a good meal too, and many locals have taken on the task of feeding them.
  • In a best case scenario where your area has been spared, you can donate your food to other communities or your local organizations that help the homeless.

If you have SHELTER:

  • Sometimes, after the main storm has passed there is still rain and flooding.  Friends and neighbors may need temporary shelter until the remaining weather passes and the water recede.  
  • Before, and for a short time after, local animal rescues may need home to temporarily foster dogs and cats.
  • People who are at risk due to illness or age, may need a safe place to stay during or immediately after the storm, until family members and organizations can help them.

If you are a CHURCH:  

Becoming a hot spot where people at large can stop in to cool off, get a bite, a cold drink, and get assistance if possible benefits the whole community.  Those who need to access phone numbers, emails, and fill out online fema forms will be thrilled to have wifi.  Consider not only how your church can help people prepare for the storm, or even shelter during the storm; but how can you be there for your community the days and weeks after.

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