Cypress, TX (April 25, 2016) When floodwater ravaged homes throughout Cypress-Fairbanks ISD last week, a swift and thorough response from the community helped put thousands of residents on the path to recovery.
After intense storms dumped record amounts of rain in northwest Harris County, local nonprofit Cy-Hope mobilized a communitywide effort to collect gift cards, cleaning supplies and other household items. Just two days after posting the announcement on its Facebook page, Cy-Hope had collected more than 75 truckloads of cleaning supplies and approximately $12,000 in gift cards at Foundry United Methodist Church for flood victims.
The Foundry began sending out work crews on April 19 that will continue visiting damaged houses throughout this week, cleaning out houses and distributing supplies to families in affected areas.
“We are overwhelmed with the abundance of generosity from our community pulling together,” said Lynda Zelenka, Cy-Hope executive director.
The following campuses joined in the Cy-Hope effort by collecting gift cards and supplies from their school communities:
- Aragon Middle School students and staff donated cleaning supplies and volunteered to help families clean up homes damaged by the flood;
- Salyards Middle School collected more than $5,200 in gift cards and eight truckloads of cleaning supplies for Cy-Hope on April 22;
- Warner Elementary School, along with Cypress Ranch High School National Honor Society students, collected cleaning supplies for Cy-Hope and helped a Warner family that lost its home to a lightning strike fire by collecting clothing and gift cards;
- Sampson Elementary School collected seven truckloads of cleaning supplies and nonperishable food as well as $2,500 in gift cards for a donation drop-off to Cy-Hope;
- Anthony Middle School filled a pickup truck with cleaning supplies and provided gift cards to Cy-Hope;
- Francone Elementary School collected approximately 700 cleaning supplies to donate to Cy-Hope;
- Holmsley Elementary School donated four truckloads of laundry, cleaning supplies, toiletries, baby formula and diapers collected from an April 24 drive;
- Goodson Middle School collected $1,000 worth of gift cards, cleaning supplies and bottled water during an April 22 donation drive. The school distributed water and supplies to 27 families on April 23; and
- Jersey Village High School baseball players helped Jersey Village families clean out their homes during Cy-Hope’s outreach efforts.
Food and supply drives are scheduled throughout the week by several other campuses, including Cypress Lakes and Cypress Falls high schools and Emmott, Kirk, Wilson and Woodard elementary schools.
“Our community was one of the most impacted by the floods with the Riata Ranch and Hot Wells areas,” said Susan Brenz, Woodard principal. “We encouraged everyone to donate cleaning products and gift cards to Cy-Hope and Community of Faith either directly or through Anthony or Salyards middle schools. Woodard will begin our own gift card, clothing and furniture drive [May 2] to give the items directly to the families, some of whom lost everything.”
Cypress Creek High School partnered with the Grant Market H-E-B to make almost 500 bags of cleaning supplies to give away to flood victims on April 22.
Cy-Fair High School baseball players and coaches spent the day on April 22 preparing the Bobcats’ field for play, while pulling out equipment and cleaning the storage shed.
Black Elementary School staff members hosted a picnic lunch and supply giveaway at the Stable Gate park on April 22. Families, residents and workers enjoyed hot dogs, chips, fresh fruit, cookies and drinks all provided by Black Elementary staff members.
The school cooked and served 700 hot dogs. Business partners Chick-fil-A and H-E-B donated food, water, disaster relief bags and gift cards, while Cy-Hope donated cleaning supplies.
Leftover cases of water were placed on the doorsteps of Stable Gate residents.
“We played music, had bubble machines, sidewalk chalk and playground balls,” said Melissa Ledoux, Black principal. “It was an amazing day; one I’ll never forget.”
Moore Elementary School hosted a hot dog luncheon at its campus on April 23, inviting the community to take a break from flood clean-up duties.
“We felt like an opportunity to see their friends and teachers would possibly provide some relief to the students,” said Jana Needham, Moore principal.
Moore staff and community members donated gift cards and cleaning supplies, while campuses including Hamilton, Swenke, Copeland and Birkes all offered their support. After the cookout, Moore staff traveled throughout the neighborhood to hand out leftover hot dogs, water, cleaning supplies and gift cards to the families affected by the flood
Cypress Falls High School, one of the schools hit hardest by flooding, received support throughout the district as staff members from Salyards and Thornton middle schools and Cypress Ridge High School helped clean up the damage.
Aragon and Salyards middle schools and Langham Creek High School all provided various meals, while PDQ donated lunch twice.
Approximately 35 Cypress Falls athletes and their parents gathered on April 22 to clean out the house of a district bus driver whose house flooded. Teacher and coach Phil Grandjean oversaw the effort as parents drove their sons to the home because the students wanted to help.
“It was an unbelievable effort in which the family and several community members were impressed with these young men and their efforts,” Grandjean said.
Dean Middle School staff members gathered at the home of a coworker, Christina Richards, whose Norchester home sustained water damage from the flooding. A group including former principal, Chris Hecker, as well as staff members Chinara Hunter, Kelsey Rostron, Derrick Crowder and Jillian Powell, moved furniture, removed wet laminate flooring, bagged debris and cleared the water from the home. They then went to one of Richards’ neighbor’s house to assist her with the flooded property.
“It was a trying week with many sad events, but these wonderful friends and coworkers made this disaster bearable,” Richards said. “I can’t thank them enough for the kindness through giving of their time and hard work.”
Many generous CFISD partners donated to flood relief efforts:
- Memorial Hermann supported Cy-Hope through donations and lunch;
- John Wesley United Methodist Church cleaned out houses in Norchester that were damaged by flooding;
- Second Baptist Church—Cypress cleaned out damaged homes;
- Cypress United Methodist Church, an Adopt-a-School partner of Adam Elementary School, donated meals at Millsap Elementary School and at the church for those affected by the flooding;
- Prince of Peace Catholic Church offered free dinners for flood victims April 22-24;
- Cypress Assistance Ministries provided assistance to many flood victims;
- Faith Assembly Church donated supplies and labor to homes in need; and
- The Langham Creek Family YMCA, the D. Bradley McWilliams YMCA at Cypress Creek and Northwest Church served as local collection sites for flood relief supplies.