Harvey Flood Recovery: How to help when you have small children or physical limits
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small acts of kindness: huge impact
after the flood
After natural disasters like a flood, there is usually a rush of aid coming into the area while flood victims have days of mucking out and putting their homes back together. If you are lucky enough to have a dry home, going about your normal routine feels like too much of a luxury. Volunteering at shelters or mucking houses is impossible when you still have littles to take care of or have physical limits like asthma. There are still ways you can make a big difference.
Flooded homeowners are forced to make hundreds of decisions every day which leads to decision fatigue. When fatigued, the default answer is no.
Show up & do.
Become a Laundry Angel
Clothes smell awful after they’ve been sitting in flood water but they can be cleaned and come out smelling as fresh as a daisy!
- Collect clothes in either large plastic tubs or garbage bags. You don’t want the smell to seep into your car’s interior while transporting them back and forth.*Be sure to wear gloves when handling dirty clothes. Flood water is contaminated with bacteria, oil, & general grossness.
- Rinse the clothes outside with a hose to get all the mud/sand/clay off. You don’t want this in your washing machine.
- Wash once with 1/2 cup Pine-Sol or Borax. You can also use 1 cup Lysol Concentrate but it’s a bit more expensive. Other less intense options include using vinegar or baking soda. I say go for the big guns from the beginning.
- Wash again on a regular cycle with regular detergent
This method is also good for clothes worn while mucking out houses.
Make to-go box meals & pass them out around the neighborhood
Hangry is a real struggle. Everyone is stressed to the max already. Be a good citizen and feed the hangry. Make easy meals that don’t require utensils like sandwiches, wraps, or smoothies. If you make something like jambalaya or spaghetti, be a lamb, and include throwaway utensils.
Take kids for the day
Kids are out of their routine, can’t go to school so they are bored, and generally in the way of cleaning out muddy houses. I promise, parents are always happy to send them off to a safe place for the day so they can get some real work done.
Be a shoulder to cry on
Floods suck. Plain & simple. Emotions are going to run high between anger & sorrow. It’s allowed.
Read about techniques I learned during the 2016 Baton Rouge floods in my next post.
Do you have volunteering ideas or examples of something someone did for you that helped after a flood? I would love to hear hear them in the comments!