Connecting families in need with those who can help.
As a native Houstonian, the last three years have had a huge impact on my heart and soul. I needed to do something to help, so Hurricane Harvey Families was born. I built the site to match volunteers, donors and service providers with people in need of services and tangible donations in and around Houston.
Within days of creating the site, I had offers from complete strangers to help in more ways than one. While the team continues to grow, I've partnered with a fellow mom and native Houstonian to get things running. When it came to standing up a good-looking and intuitive site quickly, I knew the first person to call was Heather Willis.
Matchmaking Management / Digital Producer / Content Strategy
User Interface Design / User Experience Design / Information Architecture
- Social Media / Marketing
Content Strategy / Information Architecture / User Experience Design / User Interface Design / Digital Marketing
This is a marathon, not a sprint.
Houston was hit...and it was hit hard. In the week leading up to Hurricane Harvey making landfall, meteorologists predicted approximately 10-30 inches of rain over the course of 4 days. The 2015 Memorial Day floods brought 35 inches of rain over a 5-day period and the 2016 Tax Day floods brought 17 inches of rain over a 2-day period. Houstonians knew what was coming and they prepared for the worst, but nobody was prepared for what happened.
Hurricane Harvey delivered was 52 inches of rain in 4 days. Freeways were under water. People had nowhere to go. About 70% of Houston's 1,800-square-mile Harris County was under a foot and a half of water. People were either stranded in their homes or their homes were under water. People who had stocked up on food to last them a week were now rationing their portions because their homes had become islands and their streets, rivers. What happened was incomprehensible—and still is. The people whose homes were spared by the rains were then flooded out due to the releasing of water from not one, but two reservoirs. And those homes sat in water up to 4-6 feet high for the following 10 days or so.
If anything the last two floods taught us is that this is a marathon, not a sprint. The media coverage would eventually stop but the work was just beginning. That's where we came in. Heather and I joined forces to stand up a site in record time, thanks to Squarespace. We needed to get help to people immediately while also providing a place for those affected to create wish lists of belongings that were lost. I was inundated with messages from east to west coast asking what they could do to help. The site provided a tool for volunteers to sign up to help and for families to sign up to get help. It was as simple as that:
Get Help. Give Help.
In addition to providing immediate help, the primary goal of the site was to provide long-term help...to really form relationships between the matches. Because this is a process that doesn't happen overnight, by allowing volunteers to "adopt" a family, we also hoped to plant the seeds of a longer-term friendship.
Through the work I did with Nook Sleep Systems, we partnered to help the most innocent victims of this storm, babies and children, get back to as much normalcy as possible. We are working on partnering with a few other brands and hope to be able to provide even more relief to rebuild families' homes and lives.
Over the past two weeks, we have received form submissions from over 100 people and have matched about 80% of them. The stories we've received from these families in need have been heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time. Throughout it all, there has been one common thread: LOVE. We hope to continue spreading this love and hope for the months (and years) to come. For now, we'll leave you with some images of the work we've been doing and the families affected.