A more direct way to help

Julie talks about what life is like after Ike in her hometown of Seabrook, and tells of a little way in which we can help:

Kids are helping kids with Operation CRAYON. This is assistance for kids from pre-kindergarten through grade 12.

Operation CRAYON
McWhirter Elementary
300 Pennsylvania Avenue
Webster, TX 77598

They will accept items and will hand them out to schools who are working directly with families, or to teachers to help specific children or to replace lost classroom items.

Wish need list is:

New (preferable) or gently, gently used clothing and shoes
New undergarments
Standardized dress attire
School supplies

They’ve set up portable units where the items are arranged “store style” and they let the children come in and “shop.”

If you prefer to deal with me I will email you a mail location and I will personally take the items to either specific families, the donation centers, or to the schools. Multiple schools are accepting items for children enrolled who are in need or were displaced.

If you prefer to send gift cards such as to Target, a grocery store, or a prepaid card, I assure you I will get these to appropriate people. In our area we have: Target, Wal*Mart, Kroger and HEB.

You can contact her for more information – send email to j pippert at g mail dot com. Thank you very much.

And if you’re in the helping mood, the Chronicle has another way to assist:

The Houston Arts Alliance has created an “artist recovery blog” to facilitate communication between the city’s estimated 500 arts organizations and 14,000 working artists in the wake of Hurricane Ike.

Jonathon Glus, the alliance’s CEO, announced the launch of haahelps.com Friday at a town hall meeting held to assess the storm’s impact on the arts community.

Glus and Jerome Vielman, assistant director of grants and services, presented early findings of a survey that requested information about facility and studio damage, program cancellations and postponements, suspension of fundraising activities and interruption of artists’ work.

Of the 92 arts organizations that had responded by Friday, nearly 60 percent reported wind, water or tree damage and “continued loss of power,” while 80 percent said they postponed or canceled events, and 42 percent reported lost ticket sales.

It may not seem like much, but Houston has a diverse and vibrant arts community, one that helps make Houston be what it is. Any help there is greatly appreciated.

Down in Galveston, they’re dealing with mold.

Residents and business owners who were finally allowed last week to inspect their properties may have been relieved to find that the structures survived floodwaters and high winds. But many discovered the damage done by various species of mold left to breed wildly in the nurturing environs of damp, hot buildings whose doors and windows were sealed for nearly two weeks.

At Maya’s Grocery and Food Products on Avenue L, the grown children of 80-year-old Enrique Ochoa and his wife, 78-year-old Alicia, donned respirator masks, rubber boots and gloves and plastic jumpsuits several days last week to combat the mold, mildew, flies and fumes that have overtaken the flooded Mexican food store their parents had operated for half a century.

“None of us have training what to do with mold,” said daughter Elizabeth Ochoa, a 52-year-old San Antonio nurse. “We just know it’s nasty and you need masks.”

I helped tear out moldy drywall in a couple of houses after Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as what’s described in that story. I can’t even conceive what a horrible task this must be.

Power to the people update: As of Monday night, 114,000 CenterPoint customers were still in the dark. That’s 5 percent of their total. Unfortunately, some places that have had power restored have lost it again, as temporary fixes fail and more tree branches fall. Also, no further progress that I can see on traffic light outages – every light that was non-functioning last week is still non-functioning this week. The ones I’m used to are at some pretty busy intersections, like Greenbriar and Holcombe. They’ll get fixed eventually, I guess.

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