How to help Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey

by Joey deVilla on August 28, 2017

Residents of La Vita Bella Nursing Home in Dickerson, Texas wait for rescue in their flooded living room.

The scene at La Vita Bella Nursing Home, Dickerson, Texas, yesterday. They were rescued yesterday.

By now, you’ve probably heard the news reports and seen the photos coming from Houston, Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, and you might be asking “What can I do to help?”. Here are some suggestions:

If you don’t live in the area, send money, not stuff.

Photo: Pile of U.S> one-dollar bills with 'SEND MONEY' overlaying it in large green block letters.

Money has these advantages over stuff:

  • You can send it instantly — there’s no transport time for money.
  • There are no transport costs for money, either.
  • It lets local assistance acquire the stuff they need.
  • It lets aid group spend more time providing aid and less time managing incoming stuff.

Here’s a short (and most certainly incomplete) list of places where you can donate:

You’d do well to read ProPublica’s 5 Tips for Donating After Disasters, which reminds us that when giving money to aid in a disaster:

  • Do your own research before giving to any group.
  • Groups with strong local ties to their community can sometimes be the best option.
  • You have a right to demand accountability of the groups you give to.

Also wroth reading: Vox’s Choosing where to donate to charity is tough. Here’s a simple guide to help.

If you live in the area, there are some additional ways to help

The Red Cross in Texas has asked people to volunteer. They’ll train volunteers at their shelters through a fasttrack course.

The Salvation Army is also accepting volunteers to hand out supplies and food at shelters. Check the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster site to find out more.

You may also want to check out the “virtual volunteer reception center” that Volunteer Houston has set up online.

They’ll need blood. Carter BloodCare and the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center are accepting donations.

Food banks will need help. The Houston Press has compiled a list of food banks in the affected area, including Houston Food BankGalveston County Food BankCorpus Christi Food BankSoutheast Texas Food Bank, and more. They recommend contacting a food bank directly about their need and what you can do.

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