4-H’ers provide aid in time for the holidays

Ohio 4-H members send $4,000 in Walmart gift cards to Texas 4-H members impacted by Hurricane Harvey

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Jefferson County 4-H
Home of 4-H member in Jefferson County, Texas, devastated by Hurricane Harvey. (Submitted photo)

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — Jefferson County, Texas, was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey. Janine Yeske and Jefferson County, Ohio, 4-H’ers took notice and took action.

Reaching out to the Ohio community for Walmart gift card donations, the county collected $4,000 worth to send to their sister county in Texas.

“Our members raised almost $3,500 themselves and our 4-H committee bumped the donation up to $4,000,” said Yeske, the Jefferson County, Ohio, Extension educator.

“This is sometimes a difficult event to wrap your head around,” said Starla Garlick, Jefferson County, Texas, Extension agent.

“The resiliency of ‘my’ 4-H’ers humbles me regularly; they sometimes keep life in perspective for me.”

Yeske connected with Garlick and started gather funds in September.

By Nov. 15, the Ohio county had collected $4,000 in gift cards and shipped them to Garlick along with notes of encouragement for distribution.

“Take a look around whatever room you might be sitting in and see if you can imagine at first everything in that room completely wet, because the water level went all the way to the ceiling, or is floating on 2 foot of water,” Garlick said as she described the devastation.

Papers were soaked and wrinkled, colors bleeding together, contest ribbons covered with mold, or record books completely unsalvageable, she said.

Jefferson County 4-H
Many 4-H record books, ribbons and photos were lost in the hurricane flooding. These are a few that were saved in Jefferson County, Texas. (Submitted photo)

“Everything — papers, pictures, furniture, stuffed animals, clothes, shoes, trophy buckles, everything you ever had is gone — even the walls; it is all outside on the curb waiting to be picked up by the debris trucks to go to the landfill.”

Some of the 4-H’ers lost their animal projects, lambs, goats, poultry and calves.

“It is so hard to imagine the amount of water we had in a short period of time, but the aftermath is also really bad because now they have to find another place to live while they wait to begin fixing their homes, and begin to replace essentials like clothes and shoes,” she said.

Garlick asked 4-H members if they could replace anything, what would it be.

“There was a special shirt I had. It belonged to my cousin who had passed away; I would like to have it back,” one member responded.

Another said, “There was a painting of my grandfather who had passed away, and I wished we had it back for my dad.”

“So many things and losses centered around 4-H for these members, but each one them is returning to what we know and do best — we move forward,” Garlick said.

The gift cards will help these members replace some essentials — most of them got out with only the shoes they were wearing.

“It is the meaning behind the gesture, that someone cares and is thinking about them,” said Garlick.

This story is a follow-up to 4-H members gather hurricane relief funds

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