I have been asked this question several times as the South West Transit Association, Texas Transit Association, American Public Transportation Association and Community Transportation Association of America have moved to help those affected by Harvey. I even had someone who has been entrenched in Federal Emergency Management Agency work plans and high-level disaster preparedness say, “In all of our discussions about how to help victims of disaster, gift cards have never come up.”
The truth is the idea is one born out of personal experience.
Six years ago this week, the transit community, and the SWTA Nation in particular, came to my family’s rescue with gifts of love that will never be forgotten. Our home burned, along with 1,600 other Texas homes. We were floating, disjointed and lost. Yes, we needed the immediate emergency physical items like water, shovels, garbage bags, duct tape, but we also needed something else. We needed to know we were not forgotten and we needed dignity and a sense of control.
That is where the gift cards came into play.
With gift cards, my family had the opportunity to CHOOSE what we needed and when. The gift cards allowed us to see past the immediate crisis, ensconced by Red Cross blankets and used clothing (both of which were appreciated and needed at that moment). The gift cards gave us hope that we were going to have a life past the fire.
I remember being at the WalMart checkout, holding a large stack of gift cards. With tears running down our cheeks, my husband and I told the very confused cashier that we were handing over love in motion to her.
We were grateful and are still grateful to everyone who showered us with gifts of love in every form. You were our link to hope, past survival. We will never forget that and neither will the transit employees of the Texas gulf.
So, today as we ban together to help our brothers and sisters of the Transit Family, remember that they are looking for life and normalcy beyond the immediate.
Click here for your way to give to transit employees: https://www.swta.org/news_events/details/hurricane-harvey-needs
1. Buy gift cards to Walmart, Target, CVS/Walgreens, HEB, Home Depot/Lowe’s, Chili’s, Chick-fil-a, Whataburger etc … Make certain the card does not have additional fees the recipient needs to pay (i.e. some Mastercard/VISA gift cards).
2. Send the gift cards to Meredith at TTA. We will deliver to the transit systems affected so they can distribute directly to employees who have needs.
TEXAS Harvey Relief/TTA
ATTN: Meredith Greene
106 E 6th Street, Suite 900
Austin, TX 78701