Tuesday marks 12 years since Hurricane Katrina hit the Louisiana Gulf Coast. On this anniversary of that devastating event, many of the same volunteers who helped following Katrina are preparing to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.
World Vision, based in Federal Way, has already sent one truck down to Texas to help victims of Harvey. They are planning to send more resources in the days to come.
One of the people helping coordinate those efforts is Jim Peterson. He also went down to the Gulf Coast to assist victims of Katrina in 2005.
He learned a lot.
“It takes a lot of organization. There are a lot of organizations that are trying to help, so coordinating all of that was a big job,” Peterson said. “It was terrible and a fantastic experience at the same time.”
Peterson said the experience was memorable for a variety of reasons, but not just for all things bad. He said during the time of devastation he also witnessed the best in humanity.
“Almost every business wanted to volunteer or support it financially or bring water or whatever the need was. Everybody rallied to help the folks,” Peterson said. “I think the thing that encouraged me the most was the rallying of resources and people and government agencies, kind of all the lines of defenses were down and we are all kind of working to help humanity.”
He said he hopes everyone finds a way to help, but he asks everyone to consider finding organizations that have specifically identified the need, otherwise you may be sending a product that is not in demand.
“We were told in Katrina to not send any clothes, even new ones, and people need to be connected with what’s going on otherwise they create more of a problem,” Peterson said. “In Katrina, there was no housing, there was no way for transportation, some of our people were sleeping in our cars, and they don’t need any more people on the road or sleeping in their cars.”
World Vision is once again planning on helping victims of the storm, and they have been working on those efforts since it first made landfall.
“We have already sent down a load of supplies and we had some sleeping bags on there, blankets, towels. We’re anticipating that this stuff will end up with people in shelters that need a little bit of a sense of comfort,” World Vision’s Reed Slattery said. “We’ve even sent down some games, and puzzles, and toys, just so the kids can have some type of normalcy and get back to some normal routine and just have fun. So even if it brings their mind off the situation, it’s done its job.”
If you are interested in helping World Vision with their Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, you can find more information here.