The outpouring of support for communities devastated by Hurricane Harvey reminds us we are never in this alone.
Below is a list compiled from various resources of ways you can help out.
Hurricane Harvey: How to Donate Safely and Avoid Charity Scams
To help homeless service agencies in Corpus Christi:
Wesley Community Center Corpus has damage to some of the rooms & outer parts of the building:
From Texas Monthly:
To Help Kids
The Texas Diaper Bank, which is based out of San Antonio, is putting together relief kit for families with very small children who need access to clean diapers in the midst of flooding and evacuations. Diapers take up a lot of space in a delivery truck, which means that other relief organizations have to decide between bringing diapers or food to affected areas. The Texas Diaper Bank fills in that need.
The Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi weathered the storm well, never losing power. It’s accepting financial donations now, and if you live in the area and want to help, you can also donate blood. They serve a large area, and people from many affected parts of the coast are likely to need their services.
To Help Animals
We all saw the photo of the dog carrying the full bag of food around after the storm, right? Good boy, Otis. And there are a lot of pets who were uprooted by the storm. The SPCA of Texas is taking in hundreds of animals transferred from shelters on the coast who aren’t safe where they are right now. You can donate to the organization to help defray the costs—or you can open your home and foster a displaced animal until it can be reunited with its owner.
If you’re in Austin and want to work with a local org, Austin Pets Alive! is doing similar work, and has similar needs—cash, to keep operating, and volunteers to foster animals. They can also use certain pet supplies: large plastic or metal bins with lids to store food, leashes and collars, cat litter, large brooms, cat-specific beds, and liquid laundry soap. (The organization says they’re good on crates and pet food now and don’t have much space to store them.)
To Help People With Medical Needs
Even as relief organizations work to help large numbers of people, it’s difficult sometimes for them to provide for people with special needs. Portlight, which has provided inclusive relief to people with disabilities for twenty years—including in Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy—is working to ensure that people who require medical equipment and assistive technology have what they need after they evacuate, and to make sure that those same folks are able to get to safety. They accept donations via PayPal.
Direct Relief USA offers prescription drugs and other medical supplies to those who need it in emergency situations, and works with clinics and primary care doctors to ensure that people are able to get what they need when they need it. They’re accepting financial contributions.
To Provide Food
Here’s a list of food banks in both affected areas and in places where those affected are likely to spend some time in the immediate aftermath of the storm (via the Houston Press):
Houston Food Bank
Galveston Food Bank
Food Bank of the Golden Crescent (Victoria)
Corpus Christi Food Bank
Southeast Texas Food Bank (Beaumont)
Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley (Pharr)
Brazos Valley Food Bank (Bryan)
Central Texas Food Bank (Austin)
San Antonio Food Bank
To Help The Homeless
The Houston Coalition for the Homeless is facilitating shelter for homeless people in Houston, including offering up-to-date information about which shelters currently have space, who’s the best fit for each one, and how to get there safely. They’re accepting financial donations to continue their work.
To Help Farmers
There’ve been a lot of dramatic photos of cattle and other livestock being rescued in the storm, but there’ll be a lot of recovering to do for many of them. The Texas Department of Agriculture’s STAR Fund is a resource made up entirely of private donations that go to farmers and ranchers affected by the storm.
To Help Those Displaced
If you’re not in one of the affected areas and you have a spare room, you can host someone by listing your home on Airbnb for free, with no service fees to anyone. Right now, most of the listings are in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio. If you’re in any of those cities—or another part of the state that’s not experiencing flooding—you might consider listing your space so displaced people have more options.
In Dallas, Trusted World is operating three shelters for evacuees. They need donations, supplies (clean clothing, non-perishable food, toiletries, diapers, and baby formula), and volunteers to help sort out the things that people have dropped off.
Global Giving is trying to raise $2 million to help those affected by the storm. As of this writing, they’ve raised $43,000, but the campaign had just launched. The organization provides food, gas, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter in the short-term, and then funnels the remaining resources to local organizations to facilitate long-term recovery.
HEB doesn’t accept donations, but it’s worth being aware that the supermarket chain provides emergency response services, mobile kitchens, and disaster-response units to affected areas. (They also announced on Sunday that they’d be collecting donations at the register for the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and Feeding Texas.) That’s especially important as a number of stores in affected areas (including the entire Houston area) are closed. You can learn more about which stores are closed—and which ones have reopened—here.
If you’re thinking about ways to help, we encourage you to pitch in by making a donation to relief efforts, volunteering your time at a local shelter, or inviting evacuees to stay with you.
Health and mental health professionals — whose services are particularly needed at this time — can click here to learn more about volunteering with the Red Cross.
And if you need to talk to someone about the stress and anxiety triggered by the hurricane, consider calling SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Hotline at 1-800-985-5990 or texting TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
United Ways of Texas has disaster relief funds for Hurricane Harvey.
- Lost Dogs of Texas is maintaining several active Facebook pages documenting pets they’ve found amid the storm. Here is some information (with photos included) on animals those in the Houston area.
- Also, the U.S. Department of Labor has approved a $10 million National Dislocated Worker Grant to assist with cleanup and recovery efforts in Texas.
- If your home was ravaged by the floods or sustained any storm damage, you can register your damage with FEMA at 1-800-621-3362.
- You can also file a personal claim with the Texas Department of Insurance’s consumer hotline at 1-800-252-3439.
If you want to help victims of Hurricane Harvey …
Help with rescue efforts
- If you have a boat or a safe high-water vehicle, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office wants your help; the office put out a call on Twitter for residents to help with rescues. Call 713-881-3100 to help.
- See a flooded street? Tell the Houston Chronicle.
- Portlight Strategies is working to help to help older adults and those with disabilities. Donate here.
- The Animal Defense League of Texas and the Houston Humane Society are seeking help. If you see a stranded marine animal, call the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Southeast Regional Office at 1-877-942-5343.
Provide shelter and supplies
- Food banks are asking for nonperishable staples like canned meat and dry goods, as well as cleaning supplies; the Houston Food Bank, Southeast Texas Food Bankin Beaumont, Central Texas Food Bank, Galveston County Food Bank, Food Bank of the Golden Crescent and Corpus Christi Food Bank all accept online donations.
- Donate food or cash to food banks in your area. Or you can donate to Feeding Texas, a network of food banks across the state. Find your local food bank here.
- You can also open your home to disaster victims through Airbnb.
- Make a cash or diaper donation to the Texas Diaper Bank, which is providing emergency diaper kits to displaced families.
- In East Texas, Athens First Presbyterian Church is accepting donations — including bottled water, nonperishable food, tarps, trash bags and clean up supplies — for hurricane relief efforts. The church is also looking for volunteers to help accept donations.
Make a donation
- Several local and national organizations are collecting donations for general disaster relief efforts, including the United Way, Americares, Salvation Army, Save the Children, Global Giving, Heart to Heart and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has set up a flood relief fund, backing the effort with his own $100,000 donation.
- Gofundme has curated a list of Harvey relief efforts, with fundraisers for individual cities, families and homes.
- Individuals and corporations can donate to hurricane relief efforts through the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
- You can help Hurricane Harvey victims by texting HARVEY to 90999 to give $10 to the Red Cross (or by visiting RedCross.org to give any other amount).
- The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, established by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, is accepting donations for flood victims.
Several hospitals are reporting blood shortages and seeking donations in the wake of the storm. O negative and O positive donations are particularly helpful, but people of all blood types are encouraged to donate.
- Carter BloodCare is sending donations to Southeast Texas; see where you can donate here. You can also give blood through the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center; find out more on their website or by calling 210-731-5590.
- Living outside of Texas? You can still donate blood through the Red Cross.
- On Tuesday, Trinity Mother Frances Health System and Carter BloodCare in Tyler are hosting a blood drive from noon until 6 p.m.
Volunteer your time
Experts expect it’ll take some time before the floodwaters drain in Houston. In the meantime, several groups are seeking volunteers to help with recovery efforts.
- Volunteers can sign up for trips to the affected area through organizations like Samaritan’s Purse, Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
- If you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, you can register to help at shelters through the Mass Care Task Force.
- Remote Area Medical is seeking medical personnel, as well as general support and supplies, to help with rescue efforts. Contact RAM at firstname.lastname@example.org or 865-579-1530.
- The State Bar of Texas has a legal hotline to help people — specifically low-income Texans — with issues such as replacing lost documents and answering insurance questions. They also started a disaster relief volunteer form, which attorneys licensed in Texas can fill out here.
WASHINGTON – The compassion and generosity of the American people is never more evident than during and after a disaster. It is individuals, non-profits, faith- and community-based organizations, private sector partners, and governmental agencies working together that will most effectively and efficiently help survivors cope with the impacts of Tropical Storm Harvey.
Please follow a few important guidelines below to ensure your support can be the most helpful for Tropical Storm Harvey disaster survivors.
TO DONATE TO RELIEF EFFORTS
The most effective way to support disaster survivors in their recovery is to donate money and time to trusted, reputable, voluntary or charitable organizations.
Cash donations offer voluntary agencies and faith-based organizations the most flexibility to address urgently developing needs. With cash in hand, these organizations can obtain needed resources nearer to the disaster location. This inflow of cash also pumps money back into the local economy and helps local businesses recover faster.
Please do not donate unsolicited goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, medicine, or perishable foodstuffs at this time. When used personal items are donated, the helping agencies must redirect their staff away from providing direct services to survivors in order to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
Donate through a trusted organization. At the national level, many voluntary-, faith- and community-based organizations are active in disasters, and are trusted ways to donate to disaster survivors. Individuals, corporations, and volunteers, can learn more about how to help on the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) website.
In addition to the national members, The Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Texas VOAD) has a list of vetted disaster relief organizations providing services to survivors. Texas VOAD represents more than three dozen faith-based, community, nonprofit and non-governmental organizations.
TO PERSONALLY VOLUNTEER IN THE DISASTER AREAS
The State of Texas is asking volunteers to not self-deploy, as unexpectedly showing up to any of the communities that have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey will create an additional burden for first responders.
The National VOAD has also noted the situation may not be conducive to volunteers entering the impacted zone and individuals may find themselves turned away by law enforcement.
To ensure volunteer safety, as well as the safety of disaster survivors, volunteers should only go into affected areas with a specific volunteer assignment, proper safety gear, and valid identification.
At this time, potential volunteers are asked to register with a voluntary or charitable organization of their choice, many of which are already in Texas and supporting survivors on the ground.
Most importantly, please be patient. Although the need is great, and desire to help strong, it is important to avoid donating material goods or self-deploying to help until communities are safe and public officials and disaster relief organizations have had an opportunity to assess the damage and identify what the specific unmet needs are.
Volunteer generosity helps impacted communities heal from the tragic consequences of disasters, but recovery lasts much longer than today. There will be volunteer needs for many months, and years, after the disaster, so sign up now.
Tropical Storm Harvey is still dangerous, with the potential to impact additional areas of Texas and Louisiana. As the situation changes, needs may also change in these areas. Continue monitoring traditional and social media channels to learn more.
- Anyone wanting to volunteer statewide: www.NVOAD.org
- Contractors: http://www.fema.gov/about-industry-liaison-program or Google “FEMA Industry”
- Independent drivers/haulers: Coyote Logistics, https://www.coyote.com/,
- 877-6-COYOTE 877-626-9683
- Group drivers/haulers: www.GSA.gov, 844-GSA-4111 (844-472-4111)FEMA Registration: 800-621-3362/TTY: 800-462-7585; www.DisasterAssistance.gov
- FEMA local hire positions are being posted in www.USAJOBS.gov under Customer Representatives
- Anyone wanting to be a FEMA reservist: https://careers.fema.gov/reservists-program