As is very evident from the fact that my last post was on November of 2016, I don't write very often. When I do, however, there's usually a good reason for it. This past week Hurricane Harvey hit the coast of Texas hard. With thousands of people displaced in the aftermath, FEMA Administrator Brock Long estimated Monday that 30,000 people may need shelter, and some 450,000 may qualify for federal flood victim assistance. Although I'm almost 2,000 miles away, I want to help in anyway that I can.
There is a long list of organizations providing vital assistance to those in need. No matter how far away you are, you can always make online donations to these groups. If you live closer to the affected areas, you can volunteer, drop off physical donations (food, water, clothing, etc.), donate blood, and much more. (Note: It is not recommended to travel to disaster areas as it can be incredibly dangerous and can also hinder ongoing rescue efforts).
To make it easier, I've compiled a list (broken down into categories) of ways you can help from both near and far. Disclaimer: I am not endorsing any of these organizations - I would always recommend doing your own research on charities before donating.
The Red Cross: To give specifically to the Red Cross simply text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10. The charges will then appear on your next phone billing cycle.
United Way Relief Fund: The United Way Relief Fund has launched a relief fund for storm-related needs and recovery. They already maintain a disaster relief fund, but anticipate the needs of Harvey will exceed existing resources.
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund: After receiving an overwhelming number of inquiries from citizens and companies who want to help, Mayor Sylvester Turner has established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that will accept tax deductible flood relief donations for victims that have been affected by the recent floods. The fund will be housed at the Greater Houston Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity.
The Texas Diaper Bank: The Texas Diaper Bank in San Antonio is asking for diapers and wipes, which can be dropped off in person or mailed to 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, Tex., 78238.
A number of food banks will be assisting the affected areas. Consider donating money instead of food, as this allows the banks to use donations most efficiently. The following is a list of local food banks around the affected areas:
Brazos Valley Food Bank (Bryan)
Central Texas Food Bank (Austin)
Food Bank of the Golden Crescent (Victoria)
Southeast Texas Food Bank (Beaumont)
These organizations are focused on the evacuation of pets, finding animal-friendly housing for families with pet, collecting food donations, and more.