As most everyone already knows, one of the most powerful hurricanes in U.S. history has hit our home state. Thousands of people have been left stranded and are without access to shelter, electricity, food, and medical aid. As many as 30,000 people may be forced into shelters due to lingering floods. As of this morning, the U.S. Coast Guard has performed more than 2,000 multi-person rescues. The calls for help haven't stopped coming, and it looks like they might not for a while.
Although members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as the Red Cross and many other services, have been deployed to assist Texans in need, there is still a lot to be done. Here's what you can do to help from wherever you may be.
Send Money to Organizations That Are Helping
Any amount that you can give is beneficial to those who are struggling. The Salvation Army is accepting financial donations online, or you can call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. You can also donate online to Save the Children, which has set up a relief fund for kids and families. The Houston Mayor has established a Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, as has JJ Watt. Portlight is a local organization that works with disabled people who've been affected by the disaster, and the SPCA of Texas is supporting animals and their owners who have been displaced by the storm. You can also give to The American Red Cross by simply texting HARVEY to 90999. For a more extensive list of places to donate, visit this link.
Offer Shelter to Others If You Can
Airbnb is offering free housing to those in the affected areas who are in dire need. They are also requesting donations for these homes. If you can, extend your home to those who have been displaced from their own. If you know of a local shelter, spread the word by mouth and on social media. For a list of available shelters in the Houston area, click here. There are shelters throughout the coastal area, as well as in Austin and Dallas.
Bring Essentials to Food Banks or Shelters
Hurricane Harvey victims are in need of many basic items, from baby diapers to canned foods. If you can bring toiletries, nonperishable foods, baby supplies, or anything useful, people will appreciate the aid. Not sure where to donate? Here are a few reliable places to consider:
Galveston County Food Bank
Food Bank of Corpus Christi
Houston Food Bank
Texas Diaper Bank
Donation Center in Dallas (15660 North Dallas Parkway)
Food Bank of the Golden Crescent (Victoria)
Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley (Pharr)
Brazos Valley Food Bank (Bryan)
Central Texas Food Bank (Austin)
San Antonio Food Bank
The Community Blood Center of the Ozarks, as well as other blood centers, have put out a call for blood supplies. More than 2,500 units of blood have already been requested, and more is going to be needed. People with type O blood (the universal donors) are especially encouraged to donate to the nearest blood bank. Agencies say that Houston and Corpus Christi are going to experience blood shortages for the remainder of the week, so any donation helps. For more information on the blood supply recovery efforts, you can visit this website. If you live in North Texas, you can text DONATE4LIFE to 444-999 and a Carter BloodCare employee will you tell you when and where you can donate.
Know of other ways we can band together and help our fellow Texans? Leave suggestions in the comments below!