Insights > Rising Above the Challenges

Rising Above the Challenges


One year after Harvey, we’re still inspired by the resilience of our communities. The devastation from the storm brought out the best in people. We wanted to share just a few of the inspiring stories and people that make Southeast Texas strong.

“What are we going to do with all these MREs?”

The boxes of prepackaged meals ready to eat multiplied and grew along walls and in hallways, a sign of the generosity pouring into Southeast Texas from across the country. As the president and CEO of the United Way of Beaumont and North Jefferson County, Karyn Husbands and her team were facing how to coordinate with nonprofits across the region. 

Luckily, her team quickly had an answer for the MREs. The Charlton Pollard neighborhood was requesting MREs to feed their residents. 

But what to do about a growing stack of MREs, was just one example of the problem solving Husbands faced during Tropical Storm Harvey.

“One of the challenges was coordinating across agencies to try and address the community’s needs and manage the influx of supplies coming in,” said Husbands. “We had agencies that couldn’t access their offices, and we worked to make sure everyone was in a position to serve the community.”

In the aftermath of the storm, it is the community that sticks with her.

“The way the community came together to help each other is what was so powerful. We had strangers helping strangers, and they never hesitated to help their neighbors. That’s what makes this part of Texas so special.”

And the generosity poured in from across the country. As images of flooded interstates played on the national news, the United Way received donations of water, money and other supplies to help the community. Even the Cincinnati Reds, unprompted, sent a check to help the region.

A year later, Husbands says there is still more to do. The United Way is looking at how to provide financial resources for affected residents as they continue the rebuilding process.

“Even a year later, we’re still digging out of the hole,” said Husbands. “It’s the little things we’re still helping with: linens, replenishing pantries, money for a new stove. But we’re still going to be working with the community to help get everyone back on their feet. It may take years, but we will be here for all those people who need help.”

Texas Editorial Team