On the Ground in Houston—One Volunteer Minister’s First Day
Los Angeles Volunteer Minister’s first day providing relief for victims of Hurricane Harvey
On Saturday, August 26, Jim, a Scientologist from Los Angeles, saw a Volunteer Ministers’ tent near his Church on L. Ron Hubbard Way. He asked what they needed and when he learned the extent of the damage from Hurricane Harvey, he signed up to join the Churches of Scientology Disaster Response. He was on a plane for Texas the next day.
“I‘ve got a lot of skills and I was able to make my schedule work, so I decided to go,” he said. “This is my first disaster relief operation.”
He flew in to Austin with a team of Los Angeles Volunteer Ministers (VMs) and arrived at Hurricane Harvey VM headquarters at the Church of Scientology Austin. After loading the VM truck with supplies and volunteers, they headed for Houston.
“We had to take an indirect route because so many of the highways were flooded—it was challenging,” he said. They ended up joining a National Guard convoy into the city. “As we approached Houston, it got progressively worse.”
They arrived at the convention center that is serving as a shelter at 9 p.m. and signed in. “There were five thousand people sitting or lying on cots—it’s quite a slice of humanity,” said Jim. In the truck, they had clothes, towels, shoes, hygiene supplies and diapers and they began handing these out, working through the night until 7 a.m. “This is my first day,” he says. “Let’s see what tomorrow will bring.”
The International Volunteer Ministers Headquarters in Los Angeles has put out a call to arms for VMs to help with the disaster. Volunteers will work with teams with trained disaster response personnel:
- Distributing water, food, clothing and basic medical supplies and materials
- Providing care to displaced residents and evacuees in shelters
- Helping people cope through Scientology assists—techniques developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard that address the emotional and mental factors in stress and trauma.
- Helping people to get back into their homes and get their lives back in order
Those who qualify will be provided free transportation to the site, food and accommodations. It won’t be five-star but it will be unforgettable.
ARE YOU SPECIALIST TRAINED? OR SKILLED?
People with training or experience in the following fields are needed immediately:
- EMTs doctors and nurses.
- Trained first responders
- Construction workers and carpenters
- Cooks and culinary specialists
VEHICLES AND DRIVERS
Vehicles and drivers are needed: boats, helicopters, trucks, vans, buses and SUVs. Those who can bring their own vehicles or are licensed to drive should contact VM International Headquarters right away.
Supplies such as bottled water, electrolytes, baby food, hygiene supplies, mosquito repellent, clothes, blankets, towels and construction tools are in high demand.
WHO TO CONTACT:
Hurricane Harvey is expected to affect 13 million people in Texas and Louisiana and drive some 30,000 into shelters. If you can help, contact the International Scientology Volunteer Ministers’ Headquarters in Los Angeles at