Comfort can be hard to find when one of the largest storms in history wipes out home and hearth.

Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 50 inches of rain in several areas around Houston, Texas, in late August, affecting more than 100,000 homes, according to estimates by AccuWeather, a weather analytics company.

Judy Doran, from the Reynoldsburg Senior Center, said members of a woodcarving group at the center hopes to help a group of seniors who were displaced by the hurricane's floodwaters.

The 12 woodcarvers are sending 11 "comfort birds," made of various kinds of wood and sanded to a smooth finish, to the Treemont Retirement Community in Houston.

"We contacted them and they have a number of folks at that facility who came there because of the floods," Doran said. "Their own facility was shut down.

"Our woodcarvers have wonderful skills and this is their way of sharing their skills with people who are in need," she said.

Bill Douglas spearheaded the effort, bringing the idea to his group.

He said the birds are "sanded as smooth as we can get them," so they fit in one's hand and can be rubbed for comfort.

"I started carving a couple of years ago, and in a magazine I get, I read about the comfort birds, which are given to people who are having a hard time," he said. "They can hold the bird and know that someone is thinking about them and caring for them."

Douglas has been making comfort birds for friends and family members ever since he read that 2016 article. He said author Kathleen Ryan described how Frank Foust has been making comfort birds since 1982. At that time, Foust had carved and given away more than 1,000 birds.

"I had a good friend pass away last spring, so I made one for his mother," Douglas said. "She told me she rubs it every day and it does bring her comfort."

He said the woodcarvers liked the idea of sending the birds to Houston.

"We meet every Thursday at the center," he said. "Several of the guys made birds -- we had several doves and one guy even made a roadrunner, since the birds were going to Texas.

"The key thing is to try to get them sanded as smooth as you can," he said. "They were made from a variety of different woods, such as cherry, pecan and walnut. One of the pecanwood birds was made from wood brought from New Orleans, from a church that was affected by Hurricane Katrina."

Douglas said a note that explains the origin of comfort birds and their purpose is included with the shipment.

"It was a nice way for us to do something to help those folks," Douglas said. "We hope the birds bring them some joy and relief."

pwillis@thisweeknews.com

@PamelaThisWeek