Valparaiso attorney helping with hurricane relief

Seeing the images of Hurricane Harvey unleash flood waters into Houston, attorney Nicholas Snow was tempted to retrieve the kayak from his parents’ garage and paddle around the neighborhoods, looking for people who needed help.

That he lives in Valparaiso, Indiana, and almost 1,110 miles from the Texas city did not dilute his desire to do what he could.

Snow, of Harris Law Firm P.C. in Crown Point, was not able to make the journey but he did connect with a group through social media who drove donations from Indiana directly into Houston. He liked the idea of distributing supplies straight into the hands of homeowners and families who had lost everything so when Hurricane Irma ravaged Florida, he was ready to drive into action.

I really liked the idea of putting a face on it,” Snow said. “(I liked) going and working directly with the people down there.”

Using funds donated by the Lake County Bar Association, Snow originally planned to rent a box truck, load it with donations of nonperishable food, household cleaners, personal hygiene products, charcoal, batteries and flashlights, and haul it all down to the Sunshine State.

Seeing others drop what they were doing to help the victims inspired him. “That’s the way we should respond,” said Snow, a 2004 graduate of Valparaiso Law School.

In addition to its monetary support, the local bar association was also planning to lend some muscle. Members were organizing to help load the truck once all the donations were collected and ready to go.   

However, because overcoming natural disasters usually requires improvisation, the attorney is in the process of revamping his plans.

Fatigue among donors has curtailed the amount of supplies and products being contributed to the point where what is being turned in is not enough to fill an entire truck. Also, Hurricane Maria has since devastated Puerto Rico.

Snow is now thinking about shifting the bar association funds from renting the truck to buying more items for the hurricane survivors. He could then add the stuff to other donations that are being stowed in a tractor trailer destined for Florida. Or, he could drive to Chicago and drop the items he collected at a couple of nonprofits which are taking supplies to Puerto Rico.

He is not giving up. Like the desire that sparked his kayaking idea, Snow is determined to get the donations delivered to the people in need.

“I always wish there was more I could do,” he said.   

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