Hurricane Harvey Update: An Educator’s Story

As other parts of the country brace for the impact of upcoming hurricanes, clean up efforts after Hurricane Harvey are just beginning. Team First Book in Matagorda County has made many friends in their communities over the years. One individual described the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Wharton, Texas as, “heartbreaking, just heartbreaking.”

Entire streets were covered with furniture and people’s belongings; trash and grass hung from fence lines. Half of the students in one classroom at Sivells Elementary School reported that they no longer had homes.

But still, smiles were on all the faces of the faculty. “Their greatest concern is taking care of their kids at the school,” she said.

Concern for their neighbors was common among Wharton residents.

“[We] went into several businesses and even though the owners have lost everything, they are still worried about everyone else in town and trying to help out,” she said. “One owner said ‘I can buy myself stuff but a lot of these people can’t. I will be ok!’”

“I am amazed that through this all, people are still friendly, smiling, and so willing to lend a helping hand, all while dealing with their own losses and chaos. Today, I am Wharton proud more than ever.”

First Book, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation were in Houston last week delivering books, resources, and basic needs items to hurricane-affected schools. Watch the live event.

1000w_q95 (1)The three partners have launched a targeted effort to deliver brand-new books and basic needs items, in coordination with first responders, educators, and volunteers, to hurricane-affected areas. This hurricane relief effort falls under the overall mission of the recently announced Essentials for Kids Fund, which is a new national initiative created to address the need for books and materials—including items like hygiene kits, clothing, and school supplies—in public school districts across the country that are underfunded.

If you have been affected by the storm and would like to be made aware of financial support to obtain books and resources from First Book, and are not already a member of our network, please sign up here. We will be reaching out to as many individuals as possible to share funds as they become available. There are also very affordable resources available now on the First Book Marketplace and First Book National Book Bank for those affected by the storms or fulfilling the needs of their classroom or program.

First Book and its partners welcome gifts to this fund; 100 percent of donations will support educators. To donate to the fund, click here. Or, you can support the effort by setting up your own fundraising page here.

If you are a publisher or supplier and can help with a donation of new books or resources, click here.