Friday, September 1, 2017

Hurricane Harvey: Helping The Arcs in Texas

Dear Friends in our Arc Community,

So many people have reached out to us, concerned about families in Texas struggling to cope in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and wondering what they can do to help. 

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are often among the most vulnerable when natural disasters strike. During rescue attempts, many people may be forced to evacuate without necessary medical equipment; they may be separated from their families; need medications and special supplies; others may need special accommodations not available in shelters. Some 394,000 people who have a disability live in Harris County.

We spoke yesterday to Teri Hawthorne, Executive Director of The Arc of Greater Beaumont in Texas, and asked how The Arc family here could help.  We learned that our Arc friends down in Texas, at the Greater Beaumont chapter, have already provided emergency shelter for more than 40 people with I/DD in the main The Arc office, because they have nowhere else to go.

Teri shared that even as she has lost her own home, and all her staff have suffered flooding in their homes - their biggest concern is supporting survivors of this disaster with I/DD — the people we as The Arc serve and work with every day. 

What do these brave hurricane survivors need the most right now? Many individuals with I/DD , especially those sheltering at The Beaumont Arc office, have lost all their belongings, and urgently need everyday necessities. 

Here are the ways that you can help:

Store gift cards for these individuals to purchase clothes, sheets, and other necessities when the stores re-open will be the first priority.

If anyone is interested in sending gift cards or basic hygiene supplies, please email:

Teri Hawthorne,
The Arc of Greater Beaumont, TX

The Arc of Texas has established a webpage that includes links to resources for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and their families. The site also includes a list of needed items and a donation button to support Texas chapters and the people they serve. Please join us in sharing this webpage through your communication channels.

The Arc US will continue to host a disaster relief donation page for those who would like to donate to chapters in Louisiana and Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey. This page also includes a link for those interested in connecting directly with chapters.

The Arc of King County cares for those affected by this terrible hurricane and we are happy to continue to provide updates as we receive them. Thanks for your generous concern for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are displaced, frightened, and still recovering from this unanticipated disaster. Please let us know if you need more information or have any questions about these contacts.

And thanks, in advance, for your thoughts and concerns for our friends in Texas.

Warm regards,

Stacy Gillett
Executive Director
The Arc of King County