The Salvation Army of Greater Houston and Texas Local Disaster Recovery Squad (TX LDRS) will come together on Saturday, February 24 for the final stages of mucking and gutting the property of Houston resident and Hurricane Harvey survivor Asha Ramraj. In addition, The Salvation Army and TX LDRS, along with five other Houston area nonprofits working in disaster relief, are working together to fundraise for her next home.
Asha Ramraj’s Story
Ramraj’s home was devastated by a fire in 2015 and during her efforts to rebuild the structure, her beloved husband, Dhanraj, died suddenly from a heart attack in 2016. Later that year, grief-stricken and alone, she did her best to save her home in the Tax Day Floods, and the belongings that remained were flooded and washed away by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
The Salvation Army and Ramraj cross paths
The Salvation Army first came across Ramraj while distributing donations in the Aldine area. She had been living in the remains of her utility room with only a rusted piece of metal for a roof. The Salvation Army provided financial assistance to help her pay past-due bills. “Mrs. Ramraj’s resilience and determination is the embodiment of what it means to be ‘Houston Strong,’” said Melanie Pang, The Salvation Army of Greater Houston’s Manager of Emergency Services. “Mrs. Ramraj is not just rebuilding her property, she’s rebuilding her life, and we are all honored to be a part of that journey.”
Enter TX LDRS
In order to continue to assist Ramraj with her property, The Salvation Army reached out to TX LDRS who began the process of clearing her property of hazardous materials. Among TX LDS past and ongoing efforts to assist Ramraj: recruit volunteers and donate 40 yard dumpster for initial and upcoming muck and gut, cut down trees impinging on neighbor’s yard, and provided a truck load of care packages.
“Being able to meet Asha and understand the tremendous heartache and loss she has experienced changes you,” said Melissa Vivanco, Vice President of TX LDRS. “Asha has been surviving with little to nothing, yet still manages to smile big. She deserves a second chance and it would mean everything to me to see her have a place she can call home again.”
It takes a village
With the goal to continue to meet Ramraj’s needs, a community-wide collaboration has formed. BakerRipley has assisted with care packages and other support. SBP is working to find her next housing solution, while The Alliance for Multicultural Community Services will continue to support her with case management services. Texas Q has helped to sponsor meals for volunteers and Houston Police Explorers – Central Post 2061 assisted with massive cleanup at the start of the project.
How you can get involved
For those interested in donating to help build Ramraj’s next home, please click here.
To become a trained volunteer with The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) team, click here.