Hurricane Harvey Relief Seva
As the city of Houston slowly but steadily recovers from one of the worst natural disasters to hit America, the Sai youth have been actively volunteering to help out their fellow embodiments of love in these desperate times of need. Owing to the persistence of Hurricane Harvey over Houston for over three whole days, the city experienced unprecedented levels of rainfall and flooding causing widespread devastation.
Several people have been displaced from their homes, suffered property damage and bear heavy financial burdens for rehabilitation. The ones most affected by these flooding events are those living in the under-privileged neighbourhoods. Many of these people do not have insurance to pay for repairs nor do they have any other place to stay. Hence, they have continued to live in their homes following the flooding in the most unsafe of conditions.
The youth along with some adult volunteers have been participating in the hurricane relief Seva activities on multiple weekends post Harvey in these areas. The efforts consist of
1) Assessment of damage for flooded homes and planning for future course of action.
2) Supply and distribution of essential items to those in need.
3) Mucking of flooded homes in preparation for drying out and renovations.
The labour-intensive mucking work mainly consists of removal of damaged furniture, stripping of carpets and baseboards, cutting out affected sections of drywall, cleaning of floors and sanitisation.
For the youth, it has been disheartening to observe the conditions in which many of the affected residents are living out of sheer helplessness. However, even as they go through such hardships, the residents have shown remarkable tenacity as they are still able to maintain a smile on their face and always welcome the volunteers with much warmth and gratitude. One of the residents, an elderly lady who has been living in her home for 36 years lovingly hugged all the volunteers and spoke to them about her unwavering faith in God. She told them that she knew that God would never abandon her and he has sent his angels to her in this time of need.
There is still lot of work to be done over the coming months and possibly even years for complete restoration in these areas. The youth will continue to participate in the relief efforts and pray to Bhagawan that he gives everyone the strength and courage to get through these difficult times, together as one.