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Disaster Response: Taking Care of Our Own

Friday, September 22, 2017   (0 Comments)
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Disaster Response: Taking Care of Our Own


We have watched as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma wrecked havoc on seven coastal counties in southeast Texas, Florida and the Carribbean. Lives and communities were turned upside down.  Hurricane Maria is now threatening Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands.  As we watch in disbelief, NABSW seeks to help the most vulnerable communities which are also those that get the least amount of help.


How to Help

Everyone wants to help, but getting your dollars and resources directly to our people in need is tricky. The big box charities raise millions.  They come and go quickly, leaving the major damage behind and families feeling helpless and hopeless.  Low and marginal income communities are even more devastated. They are already vulnerable and  they  typically receive the least amount of services.


You only have to think back to Haiti when the Red Cross raised millions and paid for their commercials and negotiated donations to the Red Cross through businesses, text messages, the federal government, and telethons but a year later on 6 houses had been built. At the same time their President & CEO salary if reported to be over half a million and their administrative fee is over 25%.


To get your dollars directly to our people in need, review the Donate Here section below.  These are organizations and volunteer initiatives that are on the ground and in the community, working with people and groups who are finding it very difficult to access resources and services.  Unlike the big box disaster response organizations, the organizations and initiatives listed below are getting 90%-100% of their funds and resources directly to the people and communities in need.  Their location in the community enables them to continually provide services in the weeks, months and years after the cameras are gone.  


For continual information on how to help, follow NABSW on @apreparedpeople (Facebook). 


Donate Here

NABSW Disaster Relief Fund – 100% of fund go to organizations vetted to have extensive history of serving and advocating for all sectors of the Black community, especially low and marginal income communities.


Disaster Assist PATX -HELP I'm Hurting– Port Arthur/Beaumont.  

Rev. Dr. Randy Vaughn, Pastor Emeritus, Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church-Port Arthur, TX


Through PATX, we have become aware of communities in Port Arthur, TX that are suffering and the resources and services shown on camera in Houston have not reached them.  Instead, these families, many of whom are elderly and lack transportation, are helpless, living in homes with mold because they have nowhere to go and they have no help with clean up.  A week after been flooded out, they hadn’t seen the Red Cross. They hadn’t seen FEMA.  


Volunteers with Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church are working around the clock collecting cash, cleaning supplies, baby needs, toiletries, water, clothing, linen, etc.  They have worked with no supportfor clean up, safe housing and meeting basic needs.  NO FEMA services have been provided. They report that the Red Cross has been inundated with needs in Houston.


This is an aging community and the elderly are living in homes with mold because they have nowhere to go. “Over 85% of the city was covered by water. Many of our residents have been evacuated to distant cities to be sheltered, leaving behind what little possessions they owned and not knowing if or when they will return. Long lines are already formed by those seeking goods, help, and even if they can afford to buy still there are lines of people simply trying to make purchase of needed things. Through it all, we are determined to offer sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving to our God.” 

Rev. Randy Vaughn


SHAPE Community Center – 90% of funds will be used for cash contributions to Hurricane Harvey survivors for assistance with emergency housing (directly paid to  the landlord, medical expenses paid directly to provides and pharmacies, and other needs, i.e. clothing and food, paid directly to the merchant and other needs as determined on a case by case basis. Mental health, legal and case management services will be provided by volunteer social workers, psychologists, nurses, doctors and lawyers.


Community In-Power And Development Association Inc – Port Arthur, TX

CIDA is an environmental justice organization providing ongoing support to the forgotten and marginalized in Port Arthur, TX.  Port Arthur was devastated by Hurricane Harvey and the explosion and fire at the Arkema chemical plant.  The whole of Port Arthur was under water. When media attention was given to the area it was about the safety of the plant, not the safety and vulnerability of the surrounding communities.  


Nation of Islam Mosque 45, Houston, TX 

Open 9a-7p to service those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.


Meeting the Need

The All Healers Mental Health Alliance (AHMHA) a collaborative of numerous Black organizations has been in operation for 12 years and meets twice monthly to discuss and address issues that impact the comprehensive health and wellness of people of Black African ancestry.  


On 8/31 AHMHA convened a conference call with 40+ people representing numerous Black organizations, to address Hurricane Harvey specifically.  Not surprisingly, it was quickly apparent that Black communities were experiencing needs unseen and unmet by the major disaster response entities AND attempts to assist by Black practitioners (nurses, social workers, psychologists) and other volunteers were not being welcomed.  In no time, it was agreed that it made no sense to ask permission of others to take care of our own, but to instead develop an immediate action plan.  By the next day, AllHealers-Houston had formed and coordinated services were being provided out of the Shape Center, the Shrine and the Nation of Islam Mosque 45. 


In less than 24 hours, in the spirit of collective work and responsibility, the Association of Black Psychologists, Black Psychiatrists of American, National Medical Association, Association of Black Firefighters, Association of Black Police Officers, Association of Black Nurses, The Nation of Islam, NAACP Department of Environmental Health, Institute of the Black World Black Family Summit, Community In Power and Development, Inc (Port Arthur), the Shrine of the Black Madonna and NABSW.  Together a plan of action was developed. 


Through this collective, outreach and support is being provided at the SHAPE Center, the Shrine and the Nation of Islam Mosque #45.



Approximately 10 NABSW chapters were affected by Hurricanes Harvey and  Irma.  We have reached out to all of the members in those chapters, letting them know about @apreparedpeople, a Facebook site with up to date information for disaster preparation and response.  Each chapter has been sent specific information with tips on preparing for and staying safe during and natural and manmade disasters. As we get status update, we will know where the needs are and develop and share strategies to provide assistance. 


We will continue to work for our people, not for recognition.


“Our way is a way of reciprocity. Our way has meaning and direction.” 


Ayi Kwei ArmahTwo Thousand Seasons

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