As devastating as Hurricane Harvey was to the state of Texas, stories of pure human kindness have been coming out from the aftermath to offer a bit of light and hope to those affected. Houston natives Shellie Schoellkopf and Robert Callaway were looking forward to their wedding reception in October, but devastation came their way in the form of the deadly hurricane and they had to step up and help out.
With Harvey dumping over 20 trillion gallons of rain across Texas and Louisiana during its rampage, Schoellkopf and Callaway were quick to open their doors and their hearts to those in need. Their own home, about 30 minutes outside of Houston, avoided major damage, so after welcoming in relatives who had lost their homes in the flood, the couple were even prepared to get their hands dirty in helping friends of the family demolish the first floor of a home that had been devastated, in order for rebuilding to start.
Everyone on the couple’s guest list for the wedding scheduled for October 7th was nearly all affected by Hurricane Harvey and the couple put their heads together to find a way that they could offer even more help. Their October wedding is to be held in a church in Houston, but instead of using the $5,000 that they have budgeted for their reception, the couple have donated the full amount to family and friends who have lost their homes due to Harvey.
— Shellie Schoellkopf (@TerriblyLovely) September 4, 2017
The reception had been booked for a Houston restaurant, but they generously too stepped up to waive any cancellation fee. So there won’t be a wedding reception for Schoellkopf and Callaway but they have already taken their wedding pictures. As they are putting so much into the rebuilding efforts after Harvey, they had their photoshoot done inside the damaged home of a friend’s house that they are helping to rebuild.
“We recognize it’s not this grand amount that some other couples spend on their wedding, but it’s still more than we’d be able to give if we hadn’t done it,” Schoellkopf told ABC News.
“When it comes down to it, we could pay for our reception, but we just want to put this money towards something else,” she continued. Schoellkopf is also raising money for friends and family affected by Harvey through a Venmo account.
Generosity reigns supreme in the Lone Star State
In the aftermath of the hurricane, brides across Texas and beyond have suffered through the loss of wedding dresses, decoration sand venues for planned weddings. But again, the beautiful nature of kindness has spread its wings to help out. Like Larissa Nixon Sloan who was married in August in her hometown of Oklahoma and while she had been planning to sell her leftover wedding decorations, instead she is donating them to brides-to-be affected by the storm.
There is even a subthread up on Reddit for women who are willing to donate their wedding dresses and any decorations in order to help out brides-to-be who have been affected by Harvey.
“I was basically on Reddit the entire time during the storm because the Houston subreddit was like a lifeline,” said Connie (last name kept private) from Houston who has a wedding planned for February. She had been trapped inside her home for days due to flooding but the Reddit subthread gave her outlook, although she believes own her dress survived at a boutique.
“A wedding dress is a really kind of emotional thing,” Connie added. “So for these people to put their dresses online and give them to strangers whose houses are underwater, it was really touching.”
Another touching story involves Hailey Ricks who has been driving around the Houston-area collecting and story donated wedding gowns as well as trying to find venues for couples who had their receptions or ceremonies displaced.
Ricks even teamed up with a then stranger to her, Brandi Ganz to organize a fundraising benefit for brides-to-be who had their wedding attire damaged or lost in the hurricane. The benefit will be a cocktail part which includes a donation drive and there will be wedding-related prizes up for grabs in a raffle. Ticket sales from the event, named the Veil or High Water Charity Party, will be donated to charities helping people affected by Harvey.