Valley stands strong with victims of Hurricane Harvey

Alex Zorn

Eden Young surveys the damage after Hurricane Harvey left Orange, Texas, flooded.
Provided |

When Hurricane Harvey left 1,900 Mayde Creek High School students displaced in Houston, Spanish teacher Sally Barnes wanted to get her hometown of Glenwood Springs involved in relief efforts, but she never expected the entire region to hear her. It did.

In the weeks since she initially posted on Facebook, Barnes has raised $270,000 in donated materials.

“I anticipated maybe a few boxes of materials just for my classroom, but it just spread like wildfire,” she said. “We thought only 700 students would be impacted from the flooding. It ended up being 1,900.”

Barnes, a former Glenwood Springs High School student, taught at her high school for a year before moving to the Houston area to teach Spanish at Mayde Creek High. After the hurricane hit, she started gathering supplies for the 150 students she teaches.

“It started as a small project for my classroom,” she said. “A lot of old high school friends have been sharing the message on Facebook and on the Roaring Fork Swap page. Old teachers have been reaching out as well.”

Using Amazon Wish List, items continue to pour in, all of which will be used to ensure that the students at Mayde Creek High and their families have supplies when school starts back up on Sept. 11. Those interested should visit and pick up a few items for her students.

For Carbondale resident Halee Nichole Young, it’s been difficult to stand by as her sister tries to recover from flooding that made her home inhabitable. Living in Orange, Texas’s easternmost city, her sister Eden Young and boyfriend Marco Porraz didn’t evacuate. The next morning his Ford Truck was submerged under 8 feet of water and the two of them, along with Marco’s two children, had to escape their home through a window.

With the four of them now living with family in Louisiana, like Barnes, Halee has used Facebook to reach out to her community for support.

“I’m not a donation center, just worried for my sister,” Young said.

Like Barnes, Young’s post has been shared on the Roaring Fork Swap page and donations keep coming, some of which she unfortunately can’t use.

For example, she received a bag full of size 9 women’s shoes, but her sister is a size 5. While she appreciates the response, she’s limited in terms of resources and is just looking to help her sister.

While donation centers remain encouraged by the response from across the valley, these relief efforts should not serve as an opportunity for locals to get rid of junk. Most donation centers will accept only new items], and at this point Young is just looking for any monetary donations or hygiene supplies and clothes in the sizes she requested.

After the March for Love at 10 a.m. Saturday in Carbondale, a donation center will be set up at Sopris Park for people to help out Young’s family.

For those looking to donate a wider range of supplies to Hurricane Harvey victims there are donation centers across the valley.

Donation centers

River Churches has teamed with Pastor Johnny D. Gentry III of Free Indeed Church Intl Community Works in Houston, and locations for people to bring in supplies have set up across the valley. Butterfly Xpress Trucking from Silt will be donating a semi-truck that River Center Director Lee Price hopes to fill up by Sept. 22 to send to Houston.

Only new items will be accepted. Price is looking for food and food supplies that include coolers and non-perishable food, bath and bedding like sheets, towels and air mattresses and other items such as board games and diapers. Price added that the drop-off locations will stop receiving supplies by Sept. 20 to provide time for sorting and loading.

Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and western Garfield County residents can head to any of the drop center across western Colorado to donate.

Another potential drop-off location for residents, Rifle Columbine Ford, started accepting donations the day after the hurricane hit and has since filled up two offices full of goods and supplies.

“We’ve joined with other donation efforts across the valley and the community has just been amazing,” said Tina Bowlan, finance director at Columbine Ford.

Columbine Ford plans to send out the supplies Monday.

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