As the devastating news of Hurricane Harvey’s effects on the Gulf of Mexico Coast began flooding media outlets, Lauren Chizner immediately felt helpless.
Originally from Houston, Chizner who now lives in Dix Hills watched the coverage, knowing her parents and family members still lived in the area.
“It brings back images for me of [Superstorm] Sandy and not being able to get gas and not having power and that feeling of helplessness here,” Chizner said. “I feel like it’s even worse for them there. There’s no gas. There’s no stores. We’re trying to do what we can here on Long Island to help all of them.”
Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane near Rockport, Texas, on Aug. 26 and moved east to Louisiana on Wednesday. Some parts of southern Texas received as much as 50 inches of rain over four days, weather reports said.
Chizner said she talked to her husband Todd, the rabbi at Temple Judea of Manhasset, and helped organize a donation drive for victims of Hurricane Harvey.
“My parents are very lucky in terms of their house, they actually did not get flooded,” Chizner said. “They were away for the weekend and have not yet been able to get back to Houston because the airports are closed and the roads are impassable. They were lucky; some of my other family members have eight feet of water in their house, and they have all been evacuated.”
Temple Judea is working with the Jewish Federation of Houston and is taking donations through Sept. 7. Chizner said they are looking for:
- Cleaning supplies such as bleach, garbage bags and latex gloves
- Non-perishable foods
- Diapers and baby wipes
- Gift cards
For gift card donations, Chizner said cards should be in denominations of $25 for stores such as Lowe’s, Home Depot, Target and Bed Bath and Beyond, as well as generic Visa and American Express gift cards.
Chizner said the temple office will likely be closed for Shabbat this week.
“Because I’m from Houston, I have connections with people there in order to not just send a truck down but work with a partner there to make sure we’re getting what they want and need,” Chizner said. “It’s very hard to be away and not feel like you can do something. This was a wonderful opportunity for Temple Judea to do our part and help in the little ways that we can.”
While the largest and most well known affected city is Houston, Chizner urged people to remember it’s more than that.
“It’s not only Houston. It’s the whole Gulf Coast area,” Chizner said. “Beaumont got flooded today, and they’re having their own issues. We keep saying ‘Houston,’ and I want to stress it’s so much more than just Houston. It’s such a huge area that’s been affected.”