Young Harvey Evacuee Impressed With Community Support

Harvey generates volunteer spirit

Amazing community support is part of the response to Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area.

Sugar Land First United Methodist Church agreed to house 100 people as a temporary Fort Bend County shelter but welcomed nearly twice that many at times after opening Monday night.

London Smith was one of those visitors. The 6-year old was supposed to start first grade on Monday, but he wound up at the shelter with his mother and grandmother early Tuesday morning.

He had a small backpack with clothes he brought for the journey after the family was rescued from their home in the flooded Mission Sierra neighborhood in Richmond.

"So we had to get out of there," he said. "Saved with a big dump truck."

It was 1 a.m. by the time they arrived at the church.

"We just ended up here because all the other shelters had closed. And these people just opened their church up. They opened their arms up," said grandmother Tina Smith. "They made sure we were taken care of, and I just felt like family when I got here, such a wonderful church."

People at the church were also impressed with the support they received for the shelter.

"We started saying we need snacks, drinks, we need air mattresses, pillows. And we have been flooded with them," said church missions director Jimmy Fenwick.

A relative picked the family up Tuesday night to bring them to his house for the rest of their evacuation.

London Smith learned a lesson about disaster response that he might not have learned on a regular school day.

"This is the shelter you should go to," he said. "If there's a flood, you should go to a shelter."

His mother, Christian Smith, said London likes school and was looking forward to starting first grade.

"They were already supposed to start on the 28th, but now they won't start until the 5th, but all is well," she said.

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