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    Helping Valerie stay-in-touch with friends

    Day 277

    Creating Connection

    Valerie’s sense of purpose was nearly swept away with Harvey’s floodwaters. She lost the animals who were near and dear to her – 3 dogs and 2 cats (she also lost her truck and her home is unlivable). Thanks to quick thinking and the help of a courageous neighbor, Valerie was able to survive the flood. But she was devastated by grief. What has gotten her through the days and weeks since the flood is the neighborhood dogs who survived Harvey. Many of her neighbors are now unable to properly care for their animals, so Valerie has become their defacto caretaker. Reflecting back on the days and weeks following the flood, she spoke of the impact the neighborhood dogs had on her, saying, “If it wasn’t for these dogs I would have lost it.”

    For someone that has stepped up in her community to fill the void of animal caretaker, we wanted to help Valerie, even in a small way.

    First, we got what we knew she’d love – dog treats for her dogs. While the dogs gnawed away on their treats, we showed Valerie the other item we’d brought her: a cell phone.

    Prior to the flood, Valerie had only ever used a landline phone. It had been her only means of communication with the world outside of her neighborhood. But of course it was destroyed, so now she had no way to be in touch with friends.

    We showed Valerie how to turn her phone on and off, how to make a call and we linked her email to the phone (after the flood one of Valerie’s friends set up an email account for her so she can relay information to her regarding news on FEMA resources, etc.).

    We pre-paid Valerie’s phone with enough credit to last one year. We hope it will help Valerie better connect to the world, stay in touch with the people who care about her, and allow her to connect to resources to help her move forward.

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