The Wharton community is invited Aug. 27 to the County-wide Potluck Supper at the Wharton Civic Center for a celebration of the town’s resiliency following the major devastation from Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall on Aug. 25, 2017. The potluck will run from 5-7 p.m.
Pattie Odom, director of administration for the Wharton County Recovery Team, said the event will bring residents together not to recall the natural disaster and its effects, but to provide a sense of hope and camaraderie as many residents still recover.
“I think the event is to celebrate the county and how the county has come together after the storm,” Odom said. “The focus is on the county rather than on the storm.”
The event is free but tickets are required and are available in local churches and other distribution sites in Wharton. Tickets may also be picked up from the Wharton County Recovery Team office on 307 W. Milam. To ensure the most accurate head count, tickets should be picked up by Aug. 23.
“It’s important for us to get together because we were all in the same boat when Harvey hit,” Odom said. “We’re proud of this county and how they’ve reacted and recovered. We need to stick together and move forward.”
Odom said that more than a third of households in Wharton County were affected by Hurricane Harvey with about 4,200 homes damaged and 1,200 of those with major damage that left structures uninhabitable. While resources have already come for many of those affected, Odom said that some people, especially those who live in rural areas, still face major obstacles. The Wharton County Recovery Team continues its efforts, along with partner organizations, to meet these needs.
“We were hit pretty hard by the storm,” Odom said. “I want people to know how far we’ve come.”
The county’s Recovery Team targets its support on low to moderate-income households and the uninsured and under insured, but Odom said resources are allocated to those in need, despite their circumstances.
“People are resilient and they are creative in trying to recover,” Odom said. “We had people faced by real dire concerns and they are hanging in there. What we’re trying to do is give them hope.”
The Wharton County Recovery Team was founded in 2016 to address flooding, and then, Hurricane Harvey hit. While some resources came quick, Odom said that needs still remain unmet and the recovery phase is now at the repair and rebuilding process. The goal is for the construction of 40 new homes, with funding secured for 22.
Donations are always welcome but Odom stressed that volunteers are the top need as the initial rush of volunteers who came from far and wide to help has diminished as time passes.
“As a disaster gets further and further from the date it happened, (the amount of volunteers) dwindles down and we rely on local volunteers,” Odom said.
The County-wide Potluck Supper is open to everyone and serving will continue as long as the food lasts.