A Texas-sized thank you to all who helped in the Hurricane Harvey relief effort, especially through United Way Galveston County Mainland and the local agencies it supports.

We believe that organizations deeply rooted in local communities are in the best position to provide long-term support for survivors of natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey.

As the holidays approach and the season of giving arises, some may ask, “Why should I give to United Way?” The answer is quite simple: To help people in need. So many people go through life needing help and some never seem to find the help they need. The United Way is here to make sure that help is provided. By contributing to the United Way, you can help someone in need.

Hurricane Harvey damaged more than 30,000 homes in Galveston County, leaving thousands with devastation and financial burden. We can all help make a difference in their lives through the United Way.

Once the water receded, United Way Galveston County Mainland responded to the needs of Galveston County immediately. UWGCM dispersed half a million dollars directly into our community through basic needs agencies: Catholic Charities, Hitchcock Family Welfare, Interfaith Caring Ministries, M.I. Lewis Social Service Center and Santa Fe Family Service Center. From providing basic needs help — assisting with FEMA applications; distributing food, clothing, diapers, hygiene and school supplies — these partner agencies provided immediate relief to those in need.

It was incredible how all of these agencies pulled together to help out. Working around the clock assisting clients, searching for available resources and volunteers, these partner agencies did what it took to help residents of Galveston County. The staff at M.I. Lewis set up an emergency center at Holy Trinity Church in Dickinson, as their building on FM 517 experienced damage and took in five feet of water. The Salvation Army and American Red Cross also set up shelters and distribution centers throughout Galveston County. As people were tearing out drywall and ripping out carpets, our agencies drove around the affected areas and provided food and water.

Hurricane Harvey did not discriminate and affected all walks of life. This storm demonstrated how United Way helps people in need despite their financial background. They provide help when people desperately need it.

Through its disaster relief fund and generous donations, UWGCM has dispersed over $900,000 into Galveston County and the work is far from over. Affected residents have a long road of rebuilding and recovery, and they will need assistance from UWGCM’s partner agencies.

You can make a difference. Help those in need in Galveston County through UWGCM. There are multiple ways to contribute: Employee campaigns, special events, volunteer opportunities, online donations, and programs like AMOCO’s Create Change and Amazon Smile. For more information on how you can help, visit www.uwgcm.org or call 409-948-4211. The Texas-sized thank you just keeps getting bigger.

Phil Roberts is chairman of the board of directors for the United Way Galveston County Mainland.

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