For Veronica Watts, Community Assistance Providers of Galveston is all about aiding the less fortunate in times of crisis.
Serving as the organization’s president, Watts earlier this year moved the nonprofit group from the Clear Lake area to Galveston, mainly because of problems that Hurricane Harvey has created in the county, Watts said.
Hurricane Harvey struck six months ago, flooding thousands of houses in the county, closing businesses and displacing workers.
“The need arose after that even more,” she said. “I think that’s what kicked it in full gear to go ahead and start it in Galveston. This has been something I’ve personally been a part of in Clear Lake for a while. It’s hopefully going to help some people who need help after Harvey.”
Not all the work the organization does is related to Harvey, but it is related to the various events that can send lives spiraling.
“They can’t afford a walker, maybe their electricity got shut off,” she said. “Maybe a waitress broke her foot and can’t wait tables for a month, but she still has bills to pay. Things like that were what we were seeing.”
One of the most memorable cases the organization was involved with concerned a man who was dying and wanted to be with his family, Watts said.
“He couldn’t safely be discharged out of the University of Texas Medical Branch to nowhere to go in Galveston,” she said. “We were able to buy him a plane ticket and get him safely discharged and get him to a facility up in St. Louis so he could pass away around his family. That’s priceless, because now you’re not only an asset to the family, but you’re a resource to the hospital, saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
There are more severe cases, like a 7-year-old boy suffering burns on 75 percent of his body, Watts said.
“They needed assistance for things like diapers for a 7-year-old boy who is now incontinent because of the burns,” she said. “Also, toiletries and just food. We were able to grant that last month.”
The organization strives to deliver any relief it can give to people and families who are struggling, Vice President Tiva Thomas said.
“I’m fortunate,” she said. “For me as a volunteer, I want to give back and I honestly feel like my calling is exactly what I do in helping people. It makes me feel good to give back to the community.”
A chief goal will be to take the organization to other institutions in Galveston, Thomas said.
“We are thinking outside the box here in Galveston,” she said. “We are looking at the school board because there’s a lot of children that need help.”
The group has 12 members, but hopes to grow membership, Thomas said.
“This is a new organization in Galveston, so there are new people on the board,” she said. “This year, we are able to do volunteers. However, next year, we will have to vote on the positions.”
While the community providers group has seen early success in Galveston, a greater objective is further embedding the group into the surrounding community, Watts said.
“We are just hoping to really grow this, as big as Galveston’s need is, so we don’t have to turn anyone down,” she said.