I am finishing up this post as Hurricane Irma is hitting the Caribbean, hoping I don’t have to write another one of these posts. I started it last week as I sat at my laptop working on my week 32 of #45 post. That post is still in draft because I felt the need to start compiling ways to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey instead. It just felt more needed. (And so you also won’t find a week 33 post.)
I have a friend that lost everything and is slowly rebuilding. I have two other friends who have loved ones in the area. While they are all safe, they are deeply affected by the storm and have shared ways to help. The storm is over, but it will take a lot of time to heal and rebuild.
Because I am who I am, I feel the need to do something. And because I can’t physically go down to Texas to volunteer in the relief effort, I felt the least I could do was share the helpful resources that have come across my newsfeed and inbox. I realize that not everyone might have these resources at their fingertips. (This is my way of simple giving.)
The following list was curated from sources I trust. Because we all give differently and each have causes that are closer to our hearts than others, I’ve included several options. These are in no particular order. Some have descriptions and others do not. If you see something that interests you, I encourage you to click on the link for more info on how to give. While money is probably the most efficient way to give, some organizations and groups might be looking for specific in-kind donations or volunteers (if you happen to be in the area or are able to travel to the Houston area).
If you are looking to go to the area to volunteer with the relief effort the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends checking with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster website for a list of trusted disaster-relief organizations in Texas. There are also some good tips for volunteers on this page.
If you know someone who was affected by the storm, I’ve heard from friends that the best way to help is to send them money via a service like Paypal or Venmo. Like so many homes, banks were also flooded and destroyed by Harvey. The most direct way to help someone who has lost everything is to send them money they can access immediately so they can take care of their basic needs.
Here are some places to support the ongoing Hurricane Harvey relief efforts:
City of Houston Emergency Operations Center: How to Donate – From the website ~ “Financial donations still continue to be the preferred way of assisting survivors of the catastrophic flooding that occurred in our city. However, there is a need for medical supplies (not medications or services) as well as other items.”
Save the Children – Your support will help protect vulnerable children and provide desperately needed relief to families. A gift of $100 can provide a secure crib for a little one living in a shelter, help supply a safe space in shelters for 20 displaced children or many other items that are needed to care for the littlest survivors.
Greater Houston Community Foundation – After receiving an overwhelming number of inquiries from citizens and companies who want to help, Mayor Sylvester Turner and County Judge Ed Emmett have established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that will accept tax-deductible flood relief donations for victims affected by the recent floods.The fund will be housed at the Greater Houston Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity.
Eight Days of Hope – Eight Days of Hope will be in Houston, Texas starting September 4th serving Hurricane Harvey survivors. They will “muck” out homes, remove furnishings, clean up debris and help as many families as possible – in any way possible.
YMCA of Greater Houston
Meals on Wheels Greater Houston
Circle of Health International – From a friend ~ “The Texas-based Circle of Health International is an Int’l org that provides reproductive, maternal, and newborn health care in crisis settings around the world. They’re providing financial resources to expectant parents and families with newborns affected by #hurricaneharvey to cover costs of food, clothing, transportation and healthcare.
HURRICANE HARVEY LGBTQ DISASTER RELIEF FUND – From the website ~ “Help our LGBTQ community members displaced by the storm today by giving to the LGBTQ Disaster Relief Fund, managed by the Montrose Center – Houston’s LGBTQ counseling and community center serving Houston for 39 years.”
Houston Food Bank – Every $1 donated provides 3 meals.
South Texas Blood and Tissue Center
Texas Diaper bank – The Disaster Relief program supplies those affected by natural disasters in Texas with diapers—the only organization in Texas specifically providing victims diapers.
Houston SPCA – The Houston SPCA is the lead nonprofit agency for animal-related disaster rescue, relief and resources in the region.
Houston Humane Society
Congregation Emanu El – They are running Hurricane Harvey Houston Day Camp, a program for those who need childcare while taking care of their lives in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Jewish Federation of Greater Houston
St. John the Divine – As people grasp the scale of the disaster that was Harvey, St. John the Divine is mobilizing to meet the needs of its neighbors.
United Methodist Committee on Relief – UMCOR is currently working with disaster coordinators and early response teams in Louisiana and Texas to provide relief to the many people whose lives have been impacted by hurricane/tropical storm Harvey.
Islamic Society of Greater Houston – Mosques are serving as 24 hour relief centers
American Red Cross – You can also text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10.
Samaritan’s purse: an international relief organization
Feed Harvey Evacuees (GoFundMe campaign) – From a friend’s email ~ “We have an AMAZING food scene here in Houston and they are all pitching in. Ronnie Killen has some of the best BBQ around and he is raising money to feed evacuees. Around here, BBQ is like a big ol’ bear hug so though it’s not a non-profit, please feel free to contribute.”
United Way of Greater Houston – United Way’s first priority will be safety, shelter and basic needs, like food. Once the community is stabilized, United Way will focus on long-term recovery efforts.
All Hands Volunteers
A few of my sources (besides friends) and some additional information on organizations to support and what not to give to the relief effort:
Hurricane Harvey: Charities Providing Assistance in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey (Charity Navigator)
Where to Donate to Harvey Victims (and How to Avoid Scams) (New York Times, August 27, 2017)
Donate to These Local Houston Charities (Houstonia, August 29, 2017)
How to Donate Money and Other Aid to Communities of Color in Houston (Colorlines, August 29, 2017)
7 LOCAL HOUSTON ORGANIZATIONS TO DONATE TO NOW AND WHEN THE CAMERAS LEAVE (Mom Bloggers for Social Good, August 31, 2017)
The Wrong Donations – Some Tough Words on Disaster Relief (My Best Laid Plans, August 31, 2017)
Best intentions: When disaster relief brings anything but relief (CBS News, September 3, 2017)