Written by Chaleese Saucier
On August 25, 2017, destruction struck Texas as the natural disaster Hurricane Harvey waved over the state, leaving an estimated $180 billion in damages in its wake. Reportedly, the Category 4 hurricane affected 13 million people throughout five different states. Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, and the worst hit, Texas, were the states affected by this tragedy.
The following are a few factual circumstances surrounding Hurricane Harvey:
- 27 trillion gallons of rain fell
- 2 landfalls happened – first in Lockport, TX on August 25, 2017, as a Category 4 storm, and the second in Cameron, LA on August 30, 2017 as a tropical storm
- Cedar Bayou received a record-breaking 51.2 inches of rainfall
- The mass amounts of rainfall during the hurricane resulted in the National Weather Service’s addition of two new colors to chart rainfall
- 4,200 water rescues were made by Houston police and fire departments and the U.S. Coast Guard, not including those rescues made by civilian volunteers
- 33 counties were declared under federal disaster proclamation
- 258 shelters were utilized in Texas – even more so in Louisiana
- 32,000 evacuees left their homes
- 43 states provided air support to Texas
- 49 states aided Texas in one way or another
Although Hurricane Harvey holds second place for the most damage costs incurred by hurricanes since the turn of the century, the show of comradery and community was almost as awe-inspiring as the disaster itself. As the waters flooded and rose, so did the people of the south. In Texas’ time of woe, EatMyCatfish had to join that great togetherness and make an appearance to spread warmth by serving up hot southern meals and genuine hospitality.
Labor Day weekend 2017, EMC founder and owner, Travis Hester, accompanied by Monica Griffin, Lee Atkinson, Lester Sullivan, and Tom Pangburn made the trip along the highway of catastrophe to Beaumont, TX. Loaded down with donations from Baptist Hospital Preschool, Ben E. Keith Foods, Joshen Paper Goods, and EatMyCatfish’s friends, guests, and employees, the crew managed to feed over 2,500 people over the course of 48 hours! The crew made a successful difference for those involved with the Hurricane Harvey Relief.
By the end of day one, the small crew managed to feed 1,450 people!
(The total goal set for the entirety of the event was 2,500.)
With the surplus of water, (donation credit, and a BIG THANKS, to Ben E. Keith Foods), the EatMyCatfish Relief Team was able to go door-to-door offering clean water to those in need.
To view some on the scene action, please visit https://www.facebook.com/EatMyCatfishAR/videos/10154932742112006/.
Travis and the crew had the opportunity and pleasure to provide 100 meals, at two different sites, for first responders.
On day two of the Hurricane Harvey Relief, EMC teamed up with Winnie Dodge Chrysler and Jeep to collaborate on the organization and disbursement of supplies shipped overnight. The automotive site was running low on supplies from the flood of those in need of assistance. EMC stepped up to the plate. From personal hygiene, to infant care, to hot meals, the team aided those who were waiting for their homes to be cleared.
To view the archived live feed from September 5th, 2017, please visit https://www.facebook.com/EatMyCatfishAR/videos/10154932287882006/
To get a better idea of the devastation of Port Arthur, Texas, please view https://www.facebook.com/EatMyCatfishAR/videos/10154932542847006/
Some 85 miles east of Houston, the Port Arthur and Beaumont areas experienced an overall 26 inches of water. Some people, including the mayor of Port Arthur, saw three to four feet of flooding inside their homes. Many of these citizens possessions were diminished to waste and completely lost.
The United States National Guard helped in the relief of Port Arthur. A video overview of that supply center can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/EatMyCatfishAR/videos/10154932639047006/
After a few days of travel and succor, EatMyCatfish made the final stop in Vidor, Texas. The desolation in Vidor was still apparent a full week after the hurricane made its debut. Many in this area were still without power and a good number of areas were still under water. The EMC crew offered alleviation at Turning Point Church on Main Street. The positive conviviality emitting was evident among those assisting and those in need. The church had organized a boxed BBQ meal, which translates to hundreds fed. With full bellies, those in need also received cases of clean water and other essential items.
To view the video from Vidor, please visit https://www.facebook.com/EatMyCatfishAR/videos/10154933024082006/
Travelling nearly 800 miles over the course of three days, EatMyCatfish experienced the love and community of those able and willing to ease the suffering of those affected by Hurricane Harvey. We would like to think that the unimaginable damage caused by this natural disaster was softened significantly by the efforts of those who volunteered.