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    The Basics in East Houston

    Day 284

    Distributing the Essentials

    So many people lost everything in Hurricane Harvey – homes, cars, jobs, personal belongings, memories, collectibles, and even family members and pets. The Northeast area of the city – a historically underserved and marginalized area – was hit particularly hard. In the aftermath, individuals and families are trying to piece their lives back together little by little. With limited to no resources and a lengthy recovery process ahead, the need for temporary relief is greater than ever.

    That is the gap the East Houston Civic Center (EHCC) has stepped into. James Phelan and Jeanne Dupre Weido, two passionate and dedicated community leaders, run the operations of the EHCC with support from a network of over 120 volunteers. They are a resource for people who need a little bit of help post-Harvey – their store room is filled with food, water, hygiene items, clothing and home cleaning kits.

    “The items they receive at the distribution center impacts their lives because it allows them to get outside of their home and find immediate relief,” said James. “Not only are they gathering things, but they’re coming together with their community.”

    If the EHCC runs short on some item, they put out a call on Facebook and usually receive a donation of what they need. On Day 284, we brought some items to EHCC that are hard to keep on the shelves: toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant. We also brought a car load of diapers – one of the items in highest demand. The EHCC team was excited to see us coming and got to work organizing and stocking everything we had brought along with us.

    When we asked Marc, an EHCC volunteer, why these products matter, he said “it’s simple. The EHCC is the community affirming its worth and identity and belonging.”

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