By DANYELLA ARREDONDO BARAJAS, 11th Grade, Manvel High School
Hurricane Harvey took place on Aug. 25 and went on for a whole week. In the span of that week, the storm flooded the streets of Manvel and Alvin. Families lost so much due to the natural disaster, but our community stepped up for those that needed a helping hand.
Manvel High School took a really big step in helping those that were impacted by the storm and supporting one another through these tragic times. Helping students and families find shelter, resources, clothing, and much, much more. English teacher, Kelley Lee, co-owns the Church on Masters Road alongside her husband. During the storm, her family made the brave and gracious decision to open up the church and take in victims of the tragedy.
“The devastation and loss was extremely sad, but seeing the community, city, and country coming together was inspiring and gave me great hope,” Lee said. “Manvel’s Fire Marshall called my husband Monday afternoon and asked us if we would open the church because many homes in Manvel were flooding and there wasn’t a shelter yet in the area. It would have been much more comfortable to stay at home with our little family, and honestly, I was tempted to do that very thing. However, that’s not what we [were] called to do.”
Seeing people struggle after they had just lost everything is an overwhelming feeling for anyone. To no longer have the things you once had before such as a house, clothes, items that you hold close to you, is heart wrenching. Many people were brought into the safety of the church, and Lee and her family tried to help everyone the best that they could.
“When army trucks were bringing people to our church, and they were hopping off the truck soaking wet, it was overwhelming,” Lee said. “One, I was grateful they were rescued and so proud of our first responders. Two, my heart hurt for the numerous people who lost everything but the clothes they were wearing. Three, I was thankful we could give them shelter and hopefully some hope.”
Lee took it upon herself to contact the staff here at school and asked if they could hold a donation drive for supplies and resources to take over to the church for the families.
“We announced that we were opening as a shelter on social media, and I texted our English Department and Mrs. McCorkle,” Lee said. “We advertised that we needed pillows, blankets, food, water, clothing. Immediately, our Manvel neighborhoods and churches and schools were organizing donations, scheduling meals, volunteering services. It was a humbling privilege to get a front-row seat to see how our community rallied together and helped everybody.”
When we stick it out together in circumstances like Harvey, we come out so much stronger than we were before. It’s an eye opener for the community as a whole.
“It was a humbling privilege to get a front-row seat to see how our community rallied together and helped,” Lee said. “I have overwhelming gratitude for our community. It is true that together we are stronger. We were united, and it was beautiful to behold.”