Women Making a Difference: Helping turn school into shelter for Harvey victims

By Sara Donchey - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - Dee Jones is a woman who knows how to get things done -- no matter the circumstances.

As the Alief ISD Business and Community coordinator, she spends much of the day calling local business owners and community members soliciting help for her school district.

When Harvey brought torrential rains to the Houston area, Jones would tap into those skills like never before.

"I kept saying this water is not getting in my house,” Jones said. "I was at home, say, four days. Could not get out -- surrounded by water."

During the peak of the rainfall, Jones and her husband realized they were trapped on an island. Water surrounded her Richmond home, was creeping up her driveway and was visibly rushing through her street.

She knew she could not make the 11-mile trek to work. But when Alief Taylor High School opened its gymnasium as a shelter for flood victims, Dee knew she had to act.

"I worked every day as if I was at work, Jones said.

She picked up her cell phone and started calling as many businesses as she could to ask for donations of water, food, clothes and any other supplies she knew the shelter would need.

"She drove that entire shelter from behind the scenes without ever being on site almost like the puppet master that's pulling the strings and making things happen,” said Alief ISD superintendent H.D. Chambers.

The phone calls worked. Within hours, volunteers were pouring into the high school ready to help.

Donations amassed in the school’s hallway piled up like mountains.

"It wasn't that hard because my usual job is to bring resources in. So I just kicked into high drive and started calling all my partners,” Jones said. "Alief is a strong community and we are more like family. Whenever we need anything, we request it -- and it happens."

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