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8 Ways to Help the Victims of Hurricane Harvey

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Across the southeastern U.S., citizens are struggling to cope with the record-breaking storm. Here’s how you can help.

By Eartheasy Posted Aug 31, 2017

Hurricane Harvey rescue operations
With more than 33 Texan counties ravaged by floodwaters and 30,000 people displaced, victims of Hurricane Harvey urgently need help. The hurricane, which was downgraded to a tropical storm after ravaging Texas with historic rainfall followed by floods, made landfall in Louisiana on Wednesday. Across the southeastern U.S, citizens are struggling to cope with the sheer amount of water deposited in little more than five days thanks to the record-breaking storm.

Here are eight ways you can contribute to relief efforts and help the victims of Harvey recover and rebuild their lives.

LifeStraw Go

Donate clean water

Help victims of Harvey access clean water by donating to the Lifestraw Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

The fund is working to get microbiological water filters to those affected by the storm. With your contribution, Lifestraw can help ensure people stay hydrated and safe during the next days and weeks. One LifeStraw Go provides 1,000 gallons of safe water, the equivalent to over 8,000 single use plastic bottles.

LifeStraws have been used to prevent waterborne disease for victims of disaster all over the world. Most recently, LifeStraw’s Safe Water Fund helped victims of disasters in Haiti, Ecuador, Peru, South Sudan, Myanmar, Nepal, and the Philippines. LifeStraw filters help prevent diseases such as cholera and typhoid, and the bacterial contamination that can often happen after disasters.

Donate money

Celebrities and corporations have already raised millions for hurricane relief but the road to recovery is a costly one. If you’re looking for a way to help, consider making a financial contribution to the following charities. Remember that anytime you donate money to a cause, it’s worth researching your charity of choice to ensure the funds will be spent the way you envision. Guidestar and Charity Navigator are two resources that can help you find out more about charities supporting the hurricane relief effort.

A good place to start is this list of charities vetted by CNN’s Impact Your World.
The list includes organizations known for disaster response like the American Red Cross as well as lesser known and local organizations. And while you can also contribute to the American Red Cross through Apple’s iTunes and App stores, consider donating through organizations or businesses that provide matching donations to double your impact.
Google launched one such campaign, matching private donations up to $ 1 million. Although they’ve already reached their goal, other organizations may soon follow suit.

Other places to donate:

  • The mayor of Houston has set up a recovery fund for those seeking to help Houstonites directly.
  • Go Fund Me has created a landing page featuring a variety of social fundraising campaigns relating to Hurricane Harvey. These funds focus on providing safety, shelter, and other basic needs like food.
  • United Way of Greater Houston is coordinating a special relief fund to meet the needs of hurricane victims and to help aid recovery.
  • Feeding Texas is a non-profit organization that helps coordinate relief efforts when disasters strike the state. The organization is currently helping local food banks distribute food and cleaning supplies to local shelters.

Donate food

Local food banks will find their resources strained as they begin to support residents during the long road to recovery. When the waters have receded and hurricane recovery is no longer in the news, many families will struggle to put food on the table as they rebuild their lives. That’s when they’ll turn to food banks for help. If you live near the affected area, a good way to help is by donating regularly to local food banks in Houston, Galveston, Corpus Christi, and Beaumont. The Houston Press compiled this article with links to more Texas food banks.

Food banks also take cash donations, and in the short-term, monetary contributions will be the most welcome.

Donate blood

The following organizations are operating blood donor clinics and some are reporting a critical shortage:

Donate goods where requested

Although organizations generally request cash donations in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, some have already put out requests for material donations. Since these needs change rapidly, be sure to contact the organization before sending your donation.

Diapers

The San Antonio Texas Diaper Bank is seeking diapers and wipes, which can be dropped off in person or mailed to 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, Tex., 78238.

Toys and baby items

The mayor of Houston has put out a call for toys, coloring books, baby items, and related materials for evacuated children waiting in shelters. All items can be dropped off at local shelters.

Other goods

Austin Disaster Relief is asking local residents to donate specific goods before September 1 and they will deliver them at the week’s end to Houston. Desired items include cleaning supplies, inflatable mattresses, new socks, toiletries and more. (The complete list is posted on their website). Both in-kind and monetary donations are welcome. Drop off donations between 6 AM and 7 PM at 1122 E 51st Street, Austin.

Give your time

Countless citizens in the hard-hit areas of Hurricane Harvey have already put their lives at risk mounting rescues and aiding fellow residents in their communities. As the floodwaters recede and emergency responders assess the situation, more volunteers will be needed to help with relief and recovery efforts. If you live in the affected areas and want to help, contact the following:

  • The American Red Cross is currently accepting volunteers who live locally and who can work for a minimum of ten days. For more information, visit their volunteer recruitment site at redcrossvolunteer.org/volunteer.
  • Volunteer Houston is also seeking volunteers to help with disaster relief. For more information, visit their website at volunteerhouston.org.
  • Volunteer Louisiana is taking the names of volunteers wanting to help. The organization is warning people not to ‘self-deploy’ but to wait for response organizations to assess when conditions are safe for volunteers. For more information, contact volunteerlouisiana.org

Share your home

Air BnB has set up a page where people with shelter can offer rooms at no cost to hurricane evacuees. All service fees are waived for those checking in between August 23 and September 25, 2017. https://www.airbnb.com/disaster/hurricaneharveyevacuees

Help animals in need

Both the SPCA and the Houston Humane Society have set up Amazon wish lists noting the goods they need and will accept. You can also make cash donations directly to these organizations.

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