The Bandera Courier
Bandera Courier
Thursday December 14, 2017
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2017-09-07

Helping Hand & Hurricane Harvey

Judith Pannebaker

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey hit Texas hard and now Bandera is feeling the aftermath — not with high winds and rainy weather, however, but with the arrival of evacuees from devastated communities located along the Lone Star State’s so-called Third Coast.
“We’ve had a lot of displaced people come in for assistance,” said Jesse Parks, executive director of Bandera’s Helping Hand Crisis Center. “Most are from Rockport, but, when the roads reopen, we expect to get people from the Houston area as well.”
So far, staff with Helping Hand has assisted 10 families who had lost everything in the storm. Currently, these individuals and families are living in RVs or with friends and relatives, Parks said. She added, “I haven’t heard about anyone living in a car, but I’m sure they’re out there.”
Unfortunately, evacuees arrived in Bandera close to the end of the month when the food pantry at Helping Hand had very little to offer. “We put out a plea on Facebook and with the Bandera County Chamber of Commerce, and the outpouring from the community has been amazing,” Parks said.
The community responded with much-needed meat, non-perishable food and even deodorant, she said. “These people literally left everything behind when they had to evacuate.”
According to Parks, a donation box at CVS Pharmacy on Main Street for items earmarked for Helping Hand has also been very successful.
However, with families arriving in Bandera daily from the coast, food and personal items are still needed at Helping Hand.
“We really don’t need clothes at this time because we have more than enough to help the families, but we’re short of food and personal care items, such as disposable razors, shaving cream, shampoo, soap or shower wash, hair products, towels and washcloths and deodorant. We really need deodorant,” Parks said.
Additionally, she asked people who would like to make monetary donations to the crisis center to purchase gift cards instead from large box stores such as Wal-Mart, Target and JC Penney. As Parks noted, “It would be nice if these people could have some new under ware.”
Thanking the community for its support, she said, “It’s been a blessing not only to us, but also to the people who have lost everything.”
Helping Hand is located at 1116 12th St. in Bandera. For more information on how to assist evacuees from Hurricane Harvey, call 830-796-8300.