St. Martha Catholic Church in Kingwood ended up being a makeshift shelter for about 100 people on Tuesday, Aug. 29.  Hurricane Harvey brought nearly 35 inches of rain to the area, resulting in a flash flood. Many people had to seek refuge. 
Tom Gallagher, the Grand Knight for the Knights of Columbus, coordinated the effort.
"We actually were not even supposed to be a shelter but residents of the local Arbor Terrace retirement community really needed us." 
Arbor Terrace, behind the Randall's Town Center shopping center, needed to be evacuated due to rising water. Many of the residents needed medical attention, and parishioners with medical expertise like nurses answered the call. Around 2:30 today, Aug. 30,, the Arbor Terrace residents were transported to  NRG stadium, which has been set up as a medical triage center for evacuees needing medical care. Word spread throughout the community about people in need, and St. Martha has received many donations of water, clothing, diapers and towels from the community.
St. Martha is no longer serving as either a shelter or a donation facility as of Aug. 30.  For those needing shelter for the next week, a new shelter at First Baptist Church at FM 1314 and the I-59 feeder in Porter has been established.
Gallagher said that FEMA personnel were at St. Martha this morning providing assistance before they deployed to do more water rescues. Gallagher also said that a first responder unit from Pennsylvania has been helping at his church all day, providing invaluable assistance. On Thursday, the team will be deployed to Beaumont, now experiencing flooding from Harvey's third landfall.
Gallagher says that although they are not yet ready for new donations, the next wave of supplies needed will be cleaning supplies and asks that people set those aside so they're ready when the church makes the call. The Knights will also be organizing parishioner volunteers to help people with their home cleanup, and the church will be hosting spaghetti dinners and barbecues in the near future. 
"We want to provide community members with a hot meal at the end of long cleanup days, and give them a place to have conversation to help them heal," said Gallagher. The Knights have already contacted their national organization, which had already earmarked relief funding for the Kingwood area.
Jacqueline Havelka
Author: Jacqueline HavelkaEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I am a rocket scientist turned writer. I worked at Lockheed Martin-Johnson Space Center for many years managing experiments on the Space Station and Shuttle, and I now own my own firm, Inform Scientific, specializing in technical and medical writing and research program management. I am a contributing correspondent to The Tribune, a Kingwood resident for 12 years, and proud mom to two Aggie sons.

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