Hurricane Harvey hit southeast Texas last Friday, devastating entire communities and displacing more than 30,000 residents.
Unfortunately, this monster storm isn’t letting up anytime soon — the upper Texas coast could see at least 7-13 inches more through Friday. If there’s any time to take action, it’s now. Here are six ways you can help Harvey victims and support the military and relief workers who are on the front lines.
1. Donate Money Online
If you’re looking to lend a hand from the comfort of your own home, there are plenty of ways to chip in online.
- GoFundMe: From the “Harvey Disaster Animal Fund” to “Hot Meals for Flood Victims,” there are plenty of opportunities to choose from. Individuals and families also have separate campaigns to which you can donate so you know exactly who you’re helping.
- YouCaring: By late Tuesday, the Houston Flood Relief Fund was just short of their 2 million dollar goal and had been shared more than 170,000 times via social media. The fundraiser was organized by Houston’s very own J.J. Watt of the Texans.
- American Red Cross: Donate to the cause directly from the American Red Cross website. Red Cross volunteers have been delivering disaster relief to victims since the storm hit, providing shelter and supplies to tens of thousands of displaced citizens. You can also text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
- The Salvation Army: The Salvation Army has been on the front lines of the relief effort, providing victims and workers with physical and emotional support. Make a donation on their Hurricane Harvey page or text STORM to 51555.
- The United Way of Greater Houston: This organization has been working around the clock to provide safe shelter and basic needs to Harvey survivors. Their donation page allows you to choose which region you’d like to donate funds to (Harris County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Waller County) or opt to donate the funds to whichever region needs it most.
For more options, check out this comprehensive list from the New York Times.
Worried about contributing funds because you don’t know where they’re really going? Check out The Simple Dollar’s guide on avoiding charity scams.
2. Open Up Your Home
AirBnB has a page solely for Hurricane Harvey evacuees and volunteers. From now until September 25, the site is waiving all service fees for those seeking refuge in affected areas. Many residents are also opting to list their home for free in order to provide safe accommodations for survivors.
If you’re in the areas highlighted below, considering opening your home to victims:
3. Donate Supplies
- Texas Diaper Bank: Mamas, you’ll understand that there’s always a need for more diapers even when you’re not caught in the middle of a natural disaster. Consider sending in a box of baby wipes and diapers to 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, Texas, 78238.
- Food Banks: Whether you want to make a monetary contribution to organizations like Feeding Texas, or you want to provide actual food and beverages, Harvey survivors are in desperate need of donations. According to NPR, a list of affected Food Banks are as follows:
4. Support Your Four-Legged Friends
- San Antonio Humane Society: The San Antonio Humane society is currently housing 73 pets just from Hurricane Harvey alone — and that number will continue to grow. Donate to their fund, Harvey’s Heroes, so they can provide shelter, food, and medical care to every evacuated pet they rescue.
- SPCA of Texas: This organization is not only helping animals evacuate, but is also aiding Harvey survivors in finding pet-friendly shelter. Their comprehensive list of pet-friendly resources includes temporary housing, hotels, restaurants, and boarding facilities. Donate on their giving page to help support animals in need.
- Austin Pets Alive!: Whether you’re looking to adopt a furry friend or help them transport abandoned animals to shelters, this is a great way to contribute to the welfare of Texas pets. They recommend making a financial donation given the lack of storage space available to house supplies.
5. Donate Blood
If you’re able to, there is an immense need for blood donation in the wake of this devastating storm. The AABB (American Association of Blood Banks) is especially in need of type O-positive blood. Find a local blood drive and book an appointment by calling any of the numbers below:
- AABB: aabb.org; +1.301.907.6977
- America’s Blood Centers: americasblood.org
- American Red Cross: redcrossblood.org; +1.800.RED CROSS (+1.800.733.2767)
- Armed Services Blood Program: militaryblood.dod.mil; +1.703.681.8024
6. Show Military Members Some Love
This one is a given, because we are used to giving these brave men and women our utmost love and support. But when disaster strikes, many focus on helping only the victims, when the relief workers are in need of reinforcements too.
According to the Washington Post, National Guard and Coast Guard units from more than five states have pitched into help out with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Other military personnel from the Navy, Army, and Marine Corps are also lending a hand and keeping residents updated via social media.
Thousands have been rescued with the help of our military personnel, either via helicopter, boat or ground vehicle. Don’t forget to show your appreciation to the U.S. military and take advantage of opportunities to support mil-spouses and families affected by Harvey.
Show your support by making a donation to disaster response organizations like Team Rubicon, who recruit skilled military veterans and emergency personnel to aid in relief efforts. 70% of these volunteers have military experience and offer their unique skills, from disaster mapping to water rescue.
You can also assist military families directly by donating to organizations like the Texas National Guard Family Support Foundation.
However you decide to contribute, any type of support you can offer is valued and appreciated.
Stay strong, Houston!
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*Header image credit: Texas National Guard Soldiers respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tim Pruitt): Photo provided by the Texas National Guard. License
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