December 4, 2013

CWS School Kits Help Sustain Studies of Austin Children Who Lost all to Floods

Children receive CWS School Kits
CWS School Kits help sustain studies of Austin children who lost all to floods. Photo: Family Resource Center

AUSTIN, TEXAS -- Nearly 300 school children are among those who lost everything when Onion Creek flooded their Austin, Texas, neighborhood at the end of October.  CWS School Kits are helping them keep up with their studies.

Church World Service shipped 300 CWS School Kits to Austin.  Most of the kits were distributed by the Family Resource Center at Mendez Middle School, which is close to the flood zone but not severely affected.  Also distributing some CWS School Kits was Project HELP, whose mission is keeping homeless children in school.

“We appreciate your support.  We did not have the resources to handle this ourselves,” said Claudia Santamaria, Supervisor of Parents Programs for the Austin Independent School District, which runs the Family Resource Center in collaboration with The Austin Project.

When the shipment of CWS School Kits arrived, Family Resource Center social worker Leonor Vargas opened a box and exclaimed, “They are so beautiful!  The school bags are handmade and have supplies in them.  A beautiful gift for children who have lost all they own.”

Santamaria said students at three schools in southeastern Austin were hardest hit by the flooding: Charles Akins High School, Paredes Middle School and Perez Elementary School.  A majority of the students are Hispanic; a majority qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

According to FEMA, about 1,000 homes were affected by the recent flooding, 500 of them severely.  Five people died due to the flooding. 

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Onion Creek crested at 41 feet near U.S. 183 the day of the flood.

Editor’s Note:

CWS relies on local congregations to keep us stocked with CWS Kits so that we can respond quickly to current and future disasters.   Right now, we especially need CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets and Baby Care Kits. [Click here for information on how to participate in the CWS Kits program.]

Financial contributions also are welcome. To help CWS meet recovery needs following this year’s many U.S. regional disasters, including the Texas floods, please designate Appeal #627-Y, U.S. Storms, Floods, Tornadoes and Wildfires.  Contributions may be sent to your denomination/communion or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. Donations may also be made online.