By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Here at home in Minnesota, volunteers and local organizations are doing their part to help the people of Houston.

NECHAMA Jewish Response to Disaster is a nonprofit organization that provides natural disaster preparedness and recovery efforts. The organization is small with only a handful of full-time staff members, but their impact is great.

They’ll be going down to Texas and assembling of team of nearly 100 people who will volunteer to help clean up.

On Saturday, the organizers were busy at the warehouse in Hopkins loading up trucks with supplies, including tools, chain saws, water pumps and generators.

“Most of us have been pulling 16 hour days,” Dorothy Maples said. “But the feeling of being able to give back to someone without needing to accept anything in return is huge.”

Maples has lived all over the country in her volunteer efforts. She helped out in the cleanup efforts after the Joplin tornado, Hurricane Isaac and Super Storm Sandy. The wife and mother now works with NECHAMA and will be driving down to Texas this week, spending weeks there at a time.

“Essentially the contents of Lake Michigan was just dropped on Texas,” executive director David Kaplan said.

Kaplan’s organization helped in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina. He said right now they are planning on staying at least six months in Texas knowing their work may take much longer.

“It’s unlike any other disaster we’ve ever seen,” he said. “Many of us believe that this might be the single largest natural disaster that we will see here in the United States in our lifetime.”

At this point Kaplan says they aren’t recruiting volunteers simply because it’s still not safe to bring more people into Houston but they will be assembling a team soon.  If you’re interested in going or you’d like to donate, click here.

Kate Raddatz