As we keep our eyes peeled on the latest track of Hurricane Irma and hope for the best, I want to take you back to what played out in a sleepy neighborhood north of Houston immediately in the aftermath of hurricane Harvey.
Even before the floodwaters started to recede, members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA), in partnership with Humanity First, sprang into action, distributing drinking water and using their raft to help families in need.
As roads into Houston began to open up by Tuesday (Aug. 29), more than $1,000 worth of critical food supplies from Austin were brought in. Over the next two days, 600 hot meals were prepared and distributed to Harvey evacuees.
As the Labor Day weekend began, Ahmadi youth from all over Texas and the country began to trickle in from as far as Chicago and Los Angeles. The trickle grew into more than 175 volunteers over the weekend. The band of youth organized into groups and started roaming the hardest hit areas of Houston (Kashmere Gardens, especially), not with any bad intention, but to knock on doors and help residents struggling to clean up their apartments and homes.
By the end of the Labor Day weekend, we had volunteered a total of 1,800 man hours, helped clean up over 64 homes, done 30 boat rescues and donated more than $10,000 in supplies. All this using Baitus Samee Mosque North of Houston as our command center.