Written by: leslieFMC Austin, Texas
The FindMyCompany team is volunteering to assist with relief efforts for the recent fires in Bastrop and Central Texas by donating in-kind goods to local charities and churches.
A Spark Neglected Makes a Mighty Flame
With fires raging across the state, Governor Rick Perry reports that more than 3.5 million acres of land have burned in the various blazes across Texas, an area roughly the size of Connecticut, and many of these devastating fires are located in Central Texas. The fire that has consumed much of Bastrop county is one of the worst in the state, is 0% contained and is expected to continue to burn for the next few days. In Bastrop alone, more than 600 homes have burned so far. Thankfully, this area has been evacuated, so few lives have been lost, but many livelihoods have. The families that have lost their homes in the blaze left most of their belongings in their homes and will need nonperishable items, water and toiletries.
Neighbors In Need
Due to the dry conditions and high winds that the area has experienced recently, it has taken little more than a downed power line or a haphazardly discarded cigarette butt to set these violent fires ablaze, destroying areas, not only across the state of Texas, but in our own Central Texas backyard. As the Bastrop blaze continues to consume homes and land in its wake, another fire has destroyed much of Lago Vista and is progressing down Hwy 71 toward the Lakeway area. Other areas affected include: Cedar Creek, Fall Creek, Leander, McDade, Paige, Smithville, Spicewood and Steiner Ranch. Much of Central Texas that is not scorched remains covered in a cloud of smoke.
Social Media Broadcasting
Traditional news outlets have been slow to report these fires and the effects they have had on area residents, but social media outlets, like Facebook and Twitter, are filled with real-time updates about the fires and information about charities assisting in disaster relief and other ways to help. There are several great relief and emergency response Facebook pages which include Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management, Bastrop Fire Information & Help and Bastrop Fire Find Your Pet. Local Twitter feeds have seen an increase in the use of the hashtags #txfire and #centraltexasfires. Any nearby residents or onlookers are able to tweet pictures and updates in real time, which is quicker than news can be formatted and broadcasted on TV.
Lending a Helping Hand
“The Austin branch of the FindMyCompany team, bought nonperishable food, toys, pet supplies and toiletries from the local dollar store (roughly half the store) and dropped them off at Bastrop Middle School to help the residents sheltering there. The roads to get to the shelter were surprisingly congested for the small town, and as we got closer, we were able to see black smoke billowing eerily over the horizon. Helicopters and small airplanes passed on their futile but relentless efforts to dump water on the blaze. As we arrived at the shelter, however, the residents greeted us with smiles and were more than happy to help unload the donations from the car. The photo below was taken outside of Bastrop Middle School as we unloaded our donations.” – Leslie Reeves, FindMyCompany SEM Team
How to Donate
If you would like to help with efforts by donating nonperishable items or time, the following list outlines the current shelters and organizations accepting donations. Note: These shelter locations are quickly changing due to fire locations as well as availability of school and church resources. Check out the American Red Cross of Central Texas for the most current donation information.
Bastrop Christian Outreach Center at 1096 Highway 71 W, Bastrop, TX 78602
Bastrop Christian Church, 1104 Church St., Bastrop, 78602
Vandergrift High School, 9500 McNeil Drive, Austin
Bastrop Middle School, 709 Old Austin Hwy, Bastrop
Old Giddings Elementary School, 1010 Industry Road, Giddings
Rouse High School, 1501 Country Road 271, Leander
Smithville Recreation Center, 106 Royston Street, Smithville
Clothing, Toiletries, Medical Supplies, Nonperishable Food & Pet Food
The Bastrop County Donation Distribution Center, 210 Main Street, Smithville (No Food, Please)
The Thrift Shop at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, 2008 Justin Lane, Austin
Austin Christian Fellowship, 6401 River Place Boulevard, Austin
The OASIS on Lake Travis, 6550 Comanche Trail, Austin
Click Computers, 1102 S Austin Ave, Suite 109, Georgetown
City of Cedar Park, 350 Discovery Blvd, Cedar Park
Paul Mitchell The School, 15635 Vision Drive, Ste 107, Pflugerville
Hill Country Bible Church 12124 Ranch Road 620 N, Austin
Catholic Health Association 6225 E. Highway 290, Austin
St. Williams Catholic Church, Round Rock
Sweet Dreams Bakery, 989 Loop 337, New Braunfels
Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry & Support Center
Austin Pets Alive – evacuated all Bastrop animal shelters, FREE adoption, 2807 Manchaca Road, Austin