Hurricane Harvey has pummeled the Gulf Coast of Texas. As of Sunday night, the storm had already unloaded more than 9 trillion gallons of water, and it's not over yet.
The National Weather Service has called the event "unprecedented" and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is already saying the recovery process could take years. FEMA Administrator William Brock Long told Meet the Press on Sunday that the organization can't even begin recovery work yet. "Right now we are deep into the life-safety mission of helping people be rescued through swift water rescue, search and rescue," he said.
The flooding is severe. It may have you wondering how you can help. There are many organizations aiding the ongoing relief effort, and any amount of support can go a long way. Here's how to help, other than donating to the American Red Cross.
Donations and Volunteering
- One very easy way is to donate to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, run by the Greater Houston Community Foundation. One very easy way to do that is to text HARVEY2017 to 91999.
- The Texas Diaper Bank is taking donations and fills a vital role missed by other relief organizations. "Diapers are not provided by disaster relief agencies," the Texas Diaper Bank wrote on Facebook. The Bank is putting together disaster relief kits for families with young children.
- Portlight is an organization providing relief support for the disabled and older adults.
- The Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi is also accepting donations and providing valuable assistance.
- The LGBTQ Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund is helping people rebuild their lives in the wake of disaster and has almost hit its $500,000 fundraising goal.
- Food banks are going to provide a vital service in recovery as well. The Houston Food Bank is closed for now but will reopen to provide services, as will many other food banks. The Elgin Courier has put together a list of food banks throughout the region that will need support.
- Pets are also being rescued and protected by organizations that accomplish their work through donations. Those organizations include the SPCA of Texas, Austin Pets Alive (requesting money instead of in-kind donations at this point), Dallas Animal Services, and the San Antonio Humane Society.
- GoFundMe has started a page featuring all of its Harvey-related campaigns.
- There are many other organizations accepting donations to help disaster victims, including Heart to Heart International, Samaritan's Purse, Save the Children, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, and the Salvation Army.
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Blood is in demand due to blood banks in the flood zone closing in addition to expected demand increases due to injuries sustained in the storm.
- In Texas, you can donate to Carter BloodCare and the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center, which are both in need. “The added demand has put a strain on the supply of all blood types, but especially O negative and O positive,” South Texas Blood and Tissue wrote on their site. “Having enough blood on the shelves can mean the difference between life and death for car accident victims, cancer patients and others.”
- If you're outside Texas, you can book an appointment to donate through the Red Cross.
Officials in Texas say the storm may push upwards of 30,000 people into shelters. Many of the above relief efforts will be helping accommodate displaced residents, as will local businesses, churches, mosques, and other organizations. Here are a few other organizations that are focusing on providing shelter.
- Houston's Coalition for the Homeless is providing emergency shelter and will continue to provide vital services throughout the recovery process. The organization is also working to use relief funds to find housing for displaced formerly homeless individuals.
- Coalition for the Homeless is only accepting monetary donations, but The Way Home Houston has a list of partner organizations that provide direct services and can accept in-kind donations.
- Airbnb is offering free housing in San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin to people who have been forced to evacuate their homes due to the storm. Fees are waived if you book a room before September 1. At the site, there's information about how you can donate a room yourself.
Of course, smaller local organizations do lots of great work, but if you're from outside the area you may not have heard of them. One good way to check on the good works done by an organization is looking it up on Charity Navigator. It also has a list of organizations doing hurricane relief work. If you suspect any organization or individual is fraudulently collecting funds, you can report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud.
h/t Houston Chronicle, Huffington Post, New York Times
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