Stewart brings supplies to Hurricane Harvey victims


courtesy of Kim Austin

OHS teacher Kim Austin’s sister, Jennifer Stewart, gathers supplies from the community to bring to victims of Hurricane Harvey. One of her sisters was affected by the storm and will be great helped by the goods.

Emmie Stevens, Staff Writer

Jennifer Stewart, sister of OHS teacher Kim Austin, is driving a truck full of donated supplies to Texas to aid the victims of Hurricane Harvey which made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast on Aug. 25, and caused extreme flooding.

Stewart witnessed the devastation of a hurricane firsthand during Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago, so she knows how much these donations are needed in the affected areas.

“She lost all her belongings in Hurricane Katrina, and our sister, Amy, filled up a trailer full of stuff and brought it to her,” Kim Austin said. “She got all her friends, church family and colleagues to fill up water, dog food, baby diapers, etc. and brought it to her and helped her start over. Our sister, Amy, in Houston, her friends and family have lost everything down there. My sister and her husband own a trucking company, so they’re filling up an 18-wheeler full of supplies to pay her back.”

Stewart is hoping to help people rebuild their lives and start over after the destruction of Harvey, especially her relatives and her relatives’ community.

“Amy lives in Houston and just experienced the wrath of Hurricane Harvey,” Stewart said. “Thankfully, she was fortunate to not lose her house. However, she has plenty of friends that did lose everything.”

This is Stewart’s way of “paying forward” the kindness shown to her in the past.

“Without the generosity of complete strangers, I would have never made it through that most challenging time,” Stewart said. “I received donations of everything, from clothes to furniture and slowly rebuilt our lives.”

Stewart will be driving seven hours with her 15-year-old son and her 13-year-old daughter to Richmond, Texas. She will be taking a pickup truck and a 16-foot trailer packed with supplies.

“I know what these people are feeling,” Stewart said. “My heart breaks for them. I just want to help like I was helped. I just want them to know that there are people who care and are praying for them.”

Family members know that situations like this hit home for Stewart and are proud of her for doing all that she can to aid victims.

“Since she’s already been through this, she knows how difficult it is and just wants to help,” Stewart’s niece Libby Austin said. “I’m happy to know she’s helping others.”