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Hurricane Disaster Response by Charles Baird

The hurricanes that hit the U.S. in Houston, Texas and nearly all of Florida this year have left a wave of unimaginable destruction. Families are virtually homeless and overwhelmed. I know FEMA has pledged to help, but people still have no place to live, and many do not have the essentials required to live in reasonable comfort. Mothers do not have formula for children. The elderly do not have the medicines or even the food necessary for sustenance, and many still live in mold-infested homes because they have no place else to go or have no idea where to go.

The fact that prompted me to come to Houston for weeks to assist with the cleanup was the fact that eighty percent of those affected do not have flood insurance. They cannot afford to have their homes gutted of the infested drywall, carpets, clothing, furniture, appliances, kitchen and bathroom cabinets and nearly everything in their homes; and they cannot afford to have their homes rebuilt without some assistance. All Hands Volunteers is part of that assistance.


I decided to join All Hands Volunteers to see if I could make a difference. I believe, no, I know we have made a difference. I immediately booked a flight to Houston the minute the airports opened for business, and I must tell you the hospitality of Texas has not been overstated. The people in Texas who have nothing are still trying to feed the volunteers. Texans have been resilient and magnanimous. Go Texas!


When All Hands volunteers remove the mold infested items from the home, the homeowner does not have to pay, we even leave the homeowner with additional funds for rebuilding. If it were not for All Hands and other organizations like them, much more would lose their homes because they could not afford the cost of both gutting and rebuilding.


The work necessary to rid a home of mold and bacteria is quite extensive. I have taken a few pictures of homes where I have worked over the past few weeks so you can see the extent of the damage and the extent of the loss.


The drywall is removed, up to the ceiling on many homes, the ceilings are also removed from homes where the water was left standing for days or weeks, in many cases more than six feet of standing water. I must say this is hard, dirty work with the potential to contract an illness from the river and sewer water and the mold and bacteria in the homes. However, it has been some of the most rewarding work I have ever had the pleasure of sharing with other caring human beings, for the benefit of those who have lost so much.


I know many cannot give their time to this cause, but you can give a donation to All Hands Volunteers through our homepage. The funds go to the disaster you designate. If you want to donate to Houston, Miami, the Virgin Islands or any place else in the world where suffering occurs, All Hands will be there to help with the funds you direct toward a specific tragedy.


The people helped through All Hands are some of the most loving and grateful individuals I have ever had the pleasure helping or meeting. They are truly overwhelmed by the disaster and they are overwhelmed that we would travel so far to assist people we do not know. This is just part of what All Hands do.

I hope to see your name on a donation slip; and please remember, “But for the grace of God go I.”