At this point in time, I’m sure all of America, let alone the world, has heard about the storm of the century that destroyed most of Southern Texas. Hurricane Harvey continues to cause destruction in Houston and the surrounding towns and cities and, once again, the victims desperately need help. I won’t spend time discussing Hurricane Harvey as there are a plethora of news sources outlining the daily events. But, I will provide a comprehensive list of great ways everyone can help.
One of the biggest things I have taken away from my research for the best ways to help the victims is to keep helping them long after the storm has left and the news outlets have picked up the next world disaster. The biggest problem many disaster relief organizations have is that money pours in at the beginning of a disaster, but then piddles out after a couple months when they still need the money and supplies to rebuild. Monetary donations are the best because the organizations can buy exactly what they need at a moments notice, and they can pool money to help in long-term recovery disaster relief.
NPR wrote a great article interviewing professionals in the disaster relief field. Here is a quote from it: “[Words of caution] from Bob Ottenhoff, president and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, ‘This is not the time to be donating products or even services. That’s frequently the urge, and most often that is the wrong thing to do. …With the floods blocking off streets, when warehouses are not available, there’s no place for these products — there’s no place to store anything, there’s no place to distribute anything. And that’s going to be the case for some time.”‘ (From NPR, “Want to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims? Experts Say to Donate Cash“)
Help, but help smart in that watch what you choose to donate. Between time, money, and items, read what organizations need and do for victims and make sure they are trustworthy. I did my best with the list below (which I will be constantly updating), but do your own research. Call the organization if you have any concerns and to make sure you are giving them what they truly need. Remember, unless you live in nearby cities and can help in other ways, money is the best option.
TODAY! August 30th, 2017
Austin Disaster Relief Network – holding a drive at Hope Family Thrift Store in Austin, Texas. Monetary and in-kind donations welcomed. Please visit website to see what items are needed. Also learn how else you can help through them.
The need for blood is critical. They are down to barely a day’s supply. As always, O+ and O- are in desperate need.
South Texas Blood & Tissue Center – extended hours and mobile vans available; please visit website to learn about hours and locations of mobile vans
Schedule now: http://bit.ly/2m6GHsP
Text DONATE4LIFE to 444-999
Offer space in your home for evacuees. AirBNB is a great option to offer space in your home and they are waiving all fees if you check in before Sept 25th.
Love animals? Be a pet foster parent! Many families can’t care for their pets while in shelters and many more animal shelters will welcome the extra room! Check with the local animal shelters and see how you can help! See Animal Services below!
Donate Money (and other options)
These are some of the reputable organizations/funds/businesses I have found. I also find many to be supporting people not just in the immediate relief, but in the long-term recovery as well.
Remember to spread the love 🙂
American Kidney Fund – more than 12,000 patients have been affected by Hurricane Harvey and they will not survive without dialysis. They are providing emergency grants to affect patients, which are used to replace medications, food and household items, and pay for essentials like transportation to dialysis. 100% of donations to their Disaster Relief fund will assist patients affected by Hurricane Harvey. Donate here.
Catholic Charities USA – their agencies provide support before, during, and after disasters with their main focus on long-term recovery.
Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group – helps victims in the long term recovery of disasters in the Coastal Bend area; they make sure to help meet any unmet goals for disaster relief
Direct Relief – their focus is on health and they kick into high gear when disaster strikes to make sure medical resources are where they need to be to save lives; they also received 5/5 and a 100.0 (the highest rating) on Charity Navigator!
- They are the only nonprofit licensed to distribute prescription medications in all 50 states.
- Donate through PayPal’s Giving Fund for Hurricane Harvey Relief here and eBay will match all contributions. Make sure to choose Direct Relief!
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund – established by Mayor Sylvester Turner to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey with a tax-deductible donation
Public Good-CNN’s Impact Your World: Help for Hurricane Harvey Victims
International Orthodox Christian Charities – providing support immediately, but will work to clean and rebuild homes after the storm passes
- Help with the clean-up after the storm and prepare an Emergency Clean-Up Bucket. Learn more here.
LifeStraw – The LifeStraw Safe Water Fund is working to get their microbiological water filters to those affected by Hurricane Harvey. One LifeStraw Go provides 1,000 gallons of safe water, eliminating 8,000 single-use plastic bottles! Donate here.
Texas Diaper Bank – visit their Facebook page here for hourly updates on needs and how to help. They are in need of volunteers to help count, sort, and send out donations.
- Help through their Amazon Wishlist here. Don’t forget to purchase through AmazonSmile and choose a Hurricane Harvey disaster relief foundation/group!
- Ship donations! Need diapers, wipes, baby clotes, baby blankets, bottles, and more (contact them please!). Ship to:
The Texas Diaper Bank
5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504
San Antonio, TX 78238
SBP – “Shrinking time between disaster and recovery”; committed to helping residents and communities recover from disaster quickly and efficiently, avoiding frauds and navigating the process easily
- Information about SBP’s Hurricane Harvey Response & Recovery can be found here.
- Donate to SBP’s Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund here.
ShelterBox – provides emergency shelter and tools for displaced families when disaster strikes
National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) – Encompasses a large list of organizations nationwide that work to help disaster relief. Use their website and member list to see other organizations that are helping Hurricane Harvey victims that I missed.
- Cash is Best! Donate to a Texas VOAD Member or a National VOAD Member
- Individual Donations here. In-kind donations not accepted at this time.
- In the area and want to lend a hand? Volunteer here.
Houston Food Bank – Largest in the nation AND currently closed due to the floods, but will reopen as soon as they can to provide disaster relief
San Antonio Food Bank – big help through monetary donations and donated items from their list of needs
- Monetary donations here
- Material donations: nonperishable food, water, baby food, diapers, flashlights and batteries, hygiene items, and cleaning supplies
- Clothing donations: men’s and women’s tops, pants, socks, and undergarments. MUST BE NEW!
Feeding Texas – Lists all the food banks that have likely been affected by Hurricane Harvey and how you can help.
- Donate money!
- Foster, foster, FOSTER! Shelters only have so much room and greatly appreciate families taking in some animals.
- In-kind donations. Top current needs are cat litter, martingale collars (medium), tarps, and dog treats. NO MORE crates, Clorox wipes, or dog food! See list on website.
GreaterGood.org – Please read their blog post here to learn all that they have been doing to help animals. A couple efforts include funding a flight of 108 adoptable dogs to San Diego to make room for displaced pets in Texas and they sent over boxes of medication and disease rapid test kits to treat the incoming animals affected by the storm.
- Donate here.
- Donate directly to their emergency fund Harvey’s Heroes to help them offset expenses for sheltering pet evacuees and strays.
- Purchase items on their Amazon Wishlist here.
- Check out their list of needs to here. Maybe drop off a donation if you’re in the area!
Texas SPCA – already took in 123 cats from Corpus Christi and they are preparing to take in more animals. Need fosters!
- Donate money here.
- Foster! They are AT CAPACITY and desperately need fosters! See foster page here.
- In-kind donations: cat litter, litter boxes, towels, blankets, large wire crates, toys, treats, pet beds, newspaper, and gas gift cards.
Wings of Rescue – an all volunteer organization that fly animals in over-crowded, high kill shelters to their network of no kill rescue organizations and humane societies. Right now they are rushing dogs out of shelters in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey to make room for more animals affected by the storm (such as lost or abandoned pets) that will hopefully be able to be reunited with their owners.
- Check your state to see if they are bringing shelter dogs to your area! I know some are being sent to 3 rescues in San Diego: Labradors and Friends Rescue, the San Diego Humane Society, and Rancho Coastal Humane Society.
If you would like to do more research, Charity Navigator compiled a list of charities supporting Hurricane Harvey victims with their ratings. Check them out for yourself here.
Visit a Sprinkles Cupcake Store
Treat yourself this weekend and show support as well! Sprinkles will donate 100% of proceeds from their #TexasStrong cupcakes sold to two organizations. On Saturday, September 2, purchase a #TexasStrong Red Velvet cupcake to support the Houston Food Bank. On Sunday, September 3rd, purchase a Pupcake (for your doggo!) to support Houston Pets Alive!
- Here is a list of Sprinkles Cupcake locations.
Buy Hurricane Harvey Proceed Products
Wear your support and buy this awesome T-Shirt here, sold and designed by the lovely Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s ‘Fixer Uppers’. 100% of proceeds are donated to helping the victims of Hurricane Harvey from August 28 – September 30. HURRY! They have already sold out once and the website is asking for patience as they get restocked. The shirt retails at $26.
Or, support the Texas Diaper Bank and purchase “All Bottoms Covered” Hurricane Harvey Relief T-shirts here! 100% proceeds donated to their Hurricane Harvey Relief efforts. (Retail $17-$24)
Organizations that Help, but have not been as Trustworthy in the Past
Any GoFundMe, GlobalGiving, or YouCaring Hurricane Harvey Relief pages (not set up by a reputable organization) – There are many authentic fundraisers through these sites, but Be VERY careful! There are people who take advantage of others during disasters. All the sites allow you to contact them to confirm any information!
American Red Cross – they have been doing a lot to change, but they have received some flack over the years for their use of funds
United Way – the parent organization has been under constant watch due to legal issues among other corrupt practices
Note! Not Helpful for Hurricane Harvey Victims at this Time!
Coalition for the Homeless in Texas is NOT a direct service provider and any monetary donations made to them between August 26-September 8 will be used to help formerly homeless individuals. Cash donations to partners of The Way Home would be most helpful.