Just northwest of Houston is the city of Cypress where St. Mary’s Episcopal Church has recently been turned into a shelter.
Rev. Alan Bentrup says his shelter is an embarkment center, where evacuees stop over on their way to overnight shelters. He, too, is stranded from his own home after Addicks Reservoir overflowed and flooded his neighborhood, and says flooding is expected to continue even after the rain stops.
“It stopped raining here for the moment but water’s still rising because all the water from Cypress, northwest Houston, all those bayous, they fill into the reservoir — it becomes essentially a holding tank that then can slowly drain out,” Bentrup says.
In a situation where he doesn’t have a lot of control, Bentrup says one of the things he can do is pray — he’s also coordinating with parishioners, who have stepped up by volunteering and donating supplies.
He says one of the difficulties at this point in the disaster is trying to figure out which shelters are open so that donations from his church can be put to good use.
“The mood is Texan,” he says. “There’s something about Texans that when stuff like this happens, you’ll sandbag your house until you notice that your neighbor’s house needs a little more help and then you’ll go over there.”
Written by Caroline Covington.