As devastation continues to wreak havoc on the lives of thousands in Houston and now, Florida, an outpouring of love and donations have followed in full force. The problem? Not all of these donations will reach families in need. Not only that, sometimes even the most well-intentioned donation can cause more strain than necessary on volunteers and aid workers. Many helpers work tirelessly to clean up the wreckage and comfort those in need only to be met with an exorbitant amount of things they... don’t need.
We know our intentions are pure when our hearts are heavy viewing image after image of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma victims in dire circumstances. After the storm’s onset, it became apparent that the flooding would have a detrimental impact on the people of Texas for many years to come. This interconnectedness we feel needs to be met with an even more actionable discernment. We must make a point to donate and provide services that will without a doubt be for the greater good.
Spread the word and make sure your energy is going to the right organizations. Here are some trusted ways you can help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
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In many instances, money is better than sending goods. If your money is sent to the right places, this can go directly to purchase what is needed at that moment. Remember, don’t donate to places that send you spammy emails and requests for funds. Seek out an organization yourself through a reliable source. Here are some legitimate avenues to send your money:
The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund was set up by Mayor Sylvester Turner and County Judge Ed Emmett in the immediate wake of the hurricane.
- The United Way of Greater Houston relief fund will be used to help families directly impacted with immediate and long term needs.
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Volunteer Your Time
In the immediate aftermath, volunteering isn’t always a viable option. Flooded areas are still unreachable and unsafe for those wishing to donate time. However, this storm is going to have a long lasting impact, and volunteers will be needed in the weeks and months to come.
The National Voluntary Organizations Active in... Disasters is reminding everyone that you should not self-deploy. Register first.
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Donate Requested Goods
Many shelters are in need of items like clothing and food. However, an excess of these items can create more harm than good. There is limited storage during relief times, and an excess of items creates more work for volunteers. Your best bet is to look up what local organizations are requesting specifically.
Here are some places that are in need of certain items. Be sure to check their website before sending anything to be sure of the proper protocol. If you’re not local, your best bet would be... to send money so these items can be bought locally.
Austin Disaster Relief Network: Requesting clean up survival kits. Visit their website for a list of items to be included.
Hope Family Thrift Store: Out of space for goods but still accepting cash donations.
Texas Diaper Bank: Accepting any brand and size of diaper, pull-ups, wipes and formula.
Feeding Texas: Requesting monetary donations but will accept ready-made food items.
Remember, consider the impact before blindly donating any of the following items. Make sure there is not already an overabundance and the item is one the charity is specifically requesting.
Toys and Bicycles
Pantry and food items
Blankets and linens