When disaster strikes, this Alabama nonprofit is ready

Good News Notes:

Hurricane Ida was on Judy Holland’s radar as soon as it was on James Spann’s. As the managing director of High Socks for Hope, she knows that whenever a hurricane, tornado or other natural disaster happens in the Southeast, the nonprofit organization will soon spring into action.

And they’ll still be in the area, long after the news cameras are gone and the national attention fades away.

“We’re still helping in Florida three years after Hurricane Michael,” she says. Likewise, the organization had a presence in Texas for almost three years, where they provided more than 1,500 beds for flood victims.

High Socks is in it for the long haul, providing help for as long as it’s needed. “We stay long enough to make a difference,” says Holland. “It’s so hard to start over, even if you did have insurance.”

The organization started sending supplies to Louisiana right away. Two days after the storm, one of Holland’s friends took a load in, driving through Independence, Hammond and Tangipahoa Parish. He told her that “the entire area is devastated.”

Currently, Holland is searching for a warehouse near Houma to serve as the base for the organization’s post-Ida relief efforts. “The magnitude is going to be huge,” she says. Meanwhile, “Our contacts there are in rescue mode. It will be days before water and power are restored. It takes a very long time for people to get home.”

High Socks focuses on providing practical supplies, like mold killer. “Concrobium is like gold,” she says, adding that a $30 donation can buy enough Concrobium Mold Control to kill a whole houseful of mold after a storm. Other necessities the organization will provide include crowbars, shovels, sheetrock saws, tarps, plastic storage boxes, contractor-sized garbage bags and protective gear.

“We try to ship in things they won’t get,” Holland says.

High Socks for Hope was founded 10 years ago by David Robertson, a Major League baseball player from Tuscaloosa, and his wife, Erin, after the deadly tornadoes in Tuscaloosa in April of 2011. Holland started working with him in June of that year and remains the only full-time employee.

Robertson earned the nickname “High Socks” on the field because of his penchant for wearing old-school-style baseball socks. He recently earned a silver medal as member of the U.S. Olympic baseball team and now plays for the Tampa Bay Rays. He has also pitched for the New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies.

As proof of their commitment to supporting people for the long term, Holland says that earlier this year High Socks furnished a house in Tuscaloosa for a family who lost their home in 2011….”

View the whole story here: https://www.al.com/life/2021/09/when-disaster-strikes-this-alabama-nonprofit-is-ready.html

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