In Italy, natural disasters are fairly common... Earthquakes, wildfires, landslides, floods, even volcanoes erupting. Americans give selflessly to these causes to help. Now our country needs help.
I'm putting out a call to Italian citizens and Italian-Americans to dig into their pockets--even if it's only a small amount--and donate.
Over 50 inches of rain and still counting... dam waters being released into rivers and creeks... homes, business and even rescue centers are being flooded.
It's time to do something!
Here's where you can help... Click the links below.
If you have a home in Texas or a nearby state that you can offer to a displaced family for free, AirBnB is waiving fees and has a special link to set up your offer.
Here's how you can prevent being scammed while trying to donate to help victims of Hurricane Harvey... Contact Charity Navigator. They list all legitimate charities along with ratings of each that are taking part in the recovery effort.
Are there Italians in Texas?
Of course there are. Italian heritage has spread all over the world. The 1990 census placed the number at 441,256, while the 2000 census put the number of Tex-Italians at 363,354. Although that shows a drop, there has been an influx of people rushing to Texas in recent years to fill jobs, so the number may be considerably higher. Houston especially has a large Italian-American population of nearly 100,000 and Dallas over 60,000.
Like Christopher Columbus himself, Italians were often in the employ of the Spanish court during that early period of discovery. Some soldiers of fortune came from northern Italy, but the larger numbers were from Sicily and Naples, provinces that were under the Spanish crown at various times. Francisco Vásquez de Coronado's trek across the High Plains in 1541 included soldiers with the Italian surnames of Loro, Napolitano and Romano, among others.
When Texas became settled territory in the late 1700s, individual Italian merchants began to arrive. Among them was Vincente Micheli who came to Nacogdoches from Brescia. In 1836, when Texas won independence from Mexico, Italian-born Prospero Bernardi was one of the Texans who fought at the Battle of San Jacinto. The older cities of San Antonio, Nacogdoches and Victoria have Italian families who date back to this period.
In 1880 Italian farmers settled in the flood-prone area of the Brazos Valley between Hearne and Bryan--by 1905 the town of Bryan had 3,000 Italians. In the same period of time, the Texas Pacific Coal Company hired thousands of Italian immigrants to work in their mines in the Fort Worth area. By 1910 Burleson and Robertson Counties also had large numbers of Italian residents. The Qualias Val Verde Winery in Del Riois the oldest licensed winery in Texas and was started by Frank and Mary Qualia from Milan.