When it comes to giving, Fools go above and beyond. A Foolanthropy team recently traveled to Texas to help with post-hurricane recovery. Here is System Administrator Fool Rob Bursk’s look at the highlights of that trip.
Traveling to Houston for only a few days left lasting impressions. The majority of our time was spent working in low-income apartments, where we partnered with All Hands Volunteers to reduce homes to bare-bone structures.
Our days started with a mass rush for coffee around 6:30 a.m. An assembly line of volunteers would crowd around tables to make lunches; all the while cracking jokes and laughing. Together, we’d confirm groups and locations, then put on our gear and head to vans for a 40- to 60-plus-minute drive.
Traffic allowed time for getting to know volunteers from around the world. Humor filled the silence, as people answered who was from where and why they made the journey to Houston. Some volunteered as “day warriors,” while others were there as long as they could afford to be away from family, friends, and work. One person even biked from Canada, after making an early detour on a bike trip to South America once the news of Hurricane Harvey broke.
Most of our volunteer work took place in Richmond, Texas. Stains, water damage, insects, and loose items decorated walls and floors. How did Fools pitch in? We helped to remove everything in sight, including drywall, insulation, tile, slate, lights, cabinets, sinks, toilets, and tubs. Some rooms were still wet, causing drywall to crumble at our touch. Fresh air was limited, and the only light was provided by open windows and propped-up doors. Our masks were penetrated by the smell of mold, which usually caused discoloration by day’s end.
Notes, children’s drawings, and small items that survived were also removed, eliminating signs that these places were once people’s homes. Everything was swept up, bagged, and hauled off to a ditch to await trash service pickup.
Hurricane Harvey is the most powerful hurricane to hit the US since 2005, so Fools couldn’t help but experience sadness from the destruction. Here are a few photos from our experience: