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If You Can, I Recommend Volunteering To Help Clean Up Places Hit Hard By Hurricane Harvey

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First, shout out to Tex and Barstool Sports for this. I know everyone here is very relieved him and his family are safe. I cannot imagine what he’s been through over the last few days, glad he’s staying strong.

To be honest, I wasn’t really sure where to go with this because I didn’t realize Keith already blogged it, so I decided to take this time to write about when I did hurricane cleanup after Katrina. I didn’t have a blog or platform back then to write about it, so I want to use this time and platform as a way to hopefully encourage people to help. It’s hard to write this sort of blog without sounding “self serving” or whatever- but I want to show that you too can make a difference.

I went to New Orleans in August of 2008, which was 3 years after the storm hit New Orleans and the surrounding areas. To put it lightly, it was still a complete disaster. It’s without a doubt still the most shocking and saddening thing I’ve ever seen. You don’t really understand the devastation until you see it with your eyes. Full neighborhoods completely wiped out. Houses gutted, and the people still living in their old homes with no electricity or running water because they have nowhere else to go.

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Mold, weeds, and devastation everywhere. And this was 3 years after the storm.

3 years after.

Myself and some friends volunteered through a non-profit called the St Bernard Project, which mainly focused on cleaning up and redeveloping St Bernard Parish “located just outside of New Orleans, was rendered 100% uninhabitable by Katrina’s floodwaters.”

Here I am cutting drywall

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Oops, bae caught me drilling

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The house we worked on was completely flooded by Katrina. Everything ruined. The family of 4 had been living in a FEMA Trailer on the front lawn for the last 3 years. Here is a FEMA Trailer:

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Some people have flood insurance, many more do not. There are many reasons why, some because houses are passed down generation to generation without proper paperwork and documentation, some because it’s hard to get flood insurance in flood zones, some because they can’t afford it.

I highly recommend college students volunteer in places such as New Orleans or Houston during a Spring break. To say there is so much work to be done is an understatement, and you’ll learn new skills (shout out to me for knowing how to dry wall now) and it will give you a new perspective on life. For the most part, the majority of us are very lucky to never have to deal with this sort of adversity. A mere week of your time can change a family’s life forever. And even though it’s not Cancun, you can still go to a cool city and get a sweet tan, you can still go with your friends, and you’ll make new ones while there. Also, hot chicks love volunteering. Love it.

There are so many places outside of your bubble where help is needed. And the people appreciate it so much. I kinda hate that I haven’t volunteered since college, but that’s also the great thing about college, you have the time to do things like that. As Tex said, we’re Americans, we help out, even if they don’t know who we are. You might not change the world, but you’ll always have that week or two where you for sure made a difference.