Hurricane Harvey and How You Can Help
Shannon King, Charity Director
The sun began to peek out in Houston today and brought with it a promise of hope and drier days to come. The heavy rains have finally subsided and flood waters have begun to recede across most of the city. To say this hurricane was a nightmare is an understatement. Over a period of five days, the city saw a massive 52 inches of rain, the heaviest downpour ever recorded in the continental United States. Harris County Judge Ed Emmit estimates 30-40,000 homes have been damaged and to date there are 22 reported deaths, although this number is expected to continue to rise. There have been 13,000 people rescued and over 17,000 people who have sought refuge in shelters.
Although flood waters are beginning to recede throughout most of Houston, the devastation isn’t over. Thousands of homes are still under water and may stay that way for several days or more. The aid required to restore lives and homes will be massive and the amount of time required is unknown. About 195,000 people have filed for financial assistance, and about $35 million in direct aid has been distributed — numbers expected to climb dramatically in coming days and weeks, the chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said. “This is going to be an incredibly large disaster,” Brock Long said in Washington. “We’re not going to know the true cost for years to come. … But it’s going to be huge.”
These may be the times that try men’s souls but it’s also the times when we come together at our best. Volunteers and emergency crews have been working around the clock since this disaster began and relief has been coming in. Victims of this unprecedented cataclysm will continue to need our help. I urge everyone to donate what you can, something, anything for when we come together we do great things. The New Your Times has provided the following list of organizations that are accepting donations.
The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund of Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, which is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation. https://ghcf.org/hurricane-relief/
The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center https://southtexasblood.org/harvey is reporting a critical shortage, and has extended hours at all of its San Antonio-area donor rooms. To donate, call 210-731-5590 or visit their website for more information.
To help animals suffering from the disaster, visit the Houston Humane Society https://www.houstonhumane.org/(Give)/giving/designate-your-gift/hurricane-harvey-fund or the San Antonio Humane Society https://sahumane.org/ . The Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals https://secure2.convio.net/hspca/site/Donation2;jsessionid=00000000.app253b?df_id=3305&3305.donation=form1&_ga=2.219726367.704223783.1504035488-1854140615.1504035488&NONCE_TOKEN=08C6135AF8AB3929362F45E63CC1F1A8 has set up an animal emergency response hotline (713-861-3010) and is accepting donations on its website.
The Texas Diaper Bank http://www.texasdiaperbank.org/ 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.
The United Way of Greater Houston flood relief fund will be used to help with immediate needs as well as long-term services like minor home repair. Visit their website to donate https://www.unitedwayhouston.org/flood or text UWFLOOD to 41444.
The L.G.B.T.Q. Disaster Relief Fund will be used to help people “rebuild their lives through counseling, case management, direct assistance with shelf stable food, furniture, housing and more.” It is managed by The Montrose Center, Houston’s longtime community center for the area’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population. https://my.reason2race.com/DNicol/HurricaneHarveyLGBTQDisasterReliefFund2017
For more options, the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends checking with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster for a list of trusted disaster-relief organizations in Texas. https://www.nvoad.org/hurricane-harvey/hurricane-harvey-how-to-help/
AmeriCares takes medicine and supplies to survivors. https://secure.americares.org/site/Donation2;jsessionid=00000000.app250b?df_id=22191&mfc_pref=T&22191.donation=form1&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8NHi1df61QIVHLbACh2VIgrUEAAYAiAAEgIK2fD_BwE&NONCE_TOKEN=D667E9715D23E1240570F3A751C2AC23
Catholic Charities provides food, clothing, shelter and support services to those from all religious backgrounds. https://catholiccharities.org/donate-now-and-help-our-neighbors-recover-from-disaster/
AABB, which coordinates a task force to manage blood collection efforts during disasters, put out a call on Sunday for blood donations in the aftermath of Harvey. Most in demand: those with type O-positive blood. http://www.aabb.org/press/Pages/pr170827.aspx
Those interested in donating blood may contact the following organizations:
- AABB: 301-907-6977• America’s Blood Centers • American Red Cross: 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)• Armed Services Blood Program: 703-681-5979
Airbnb is waiving service fees for those affected by the disaster and checking in between Aug. 23 and Sept. 25, and can guide users in creating a listing where their home is offered to victims free. https://www.airbnb.com/disaster/hurricaneharveyevacuees
GoFundMe has created a page with all of its Harvey-related campaigns, including one started by the country singer Chris Young, who donated $100,000, and another created by the president and chief executive of the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce. https://www.gofundme.com/hurricaneharvey
YouCaring has a fund-raising page set up by J. J. Watt of the Houston Texans with a goal of $3 million. By 4 p.m. Tuesday it had raised more than $2 million. https://www.youcaring.com/victimsofhurricaneharvey-915053
GlobalGiving’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund supports local organizations by helping to “meet survivors’ immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products and shelter.” It will also assist with longer-term recovery efforts. https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/hurricane-harvey-relief-fund/