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By the time Hurricane Harvey is finished, millions of Americans will be affected. More than 30,000 people are expected to need emergency shelter, and many more will face property damage and financial challenges. Those affected will need help long after the storm is over.
What can you do to help? Whether you’re able donate money, blood, or volunteer manpower, these organizations are a good place to start.
Keep in mind:
- Many places will be overwhelmed with donations of food, clothing, and other goods, while others may be asking for them. Check with the organization of your choice before sending physical items, to be sure they go someplace they can be used, and they don’t take up volunteer time that could be used for other efforts. In the end though, you may want to consider donating money instead of food or clothing—it lets the organization use your donation most effectively.
- Some donation web pages may be experiencing high traffic, and may load slowly—don’t give up, keep checking back!
- As always, before you donate, do some research! Site like Charity Navigator or Charity Watch can be a good place to start, and Consumer Reports has some good tips on how to check out a charity.
- Are you affected by the storm and looking for help? Most of the organizations below offer resources and ways to request help. FEMA has a Hurricane Harvey resource page, with emergency phone numbers, how to apply for assistance, and more. They are also fact checking rumors about shelters, insurance, immigration, and other topics. The United Way Storm Recovery page is another good example, with an After the Storm guide and phone numbers to call for assistance with cleanup.
The national organizations (the charities you’ve heard of)
- The American Red Cross is also accepting donations online, and via phone (1-800-HELP-NOW). If you’d also like to donate blood, you don’t need to wait for a drive to come to you—the Red Cross website has a tool that can help you find a place to donate.
- AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks) is also calling for blood donations, and lists several resources for you to find a local blood drive. The most-needed is type O-positive.
- The Salvation Army is providing help to survivors and relief workers. They’re accepting donations online, by mail, and via phone (1-800-SAL-ARMY). You can find more info on their website, or donate from your phone.
- The United Way of Greater Houston lets you choose to send your donation to help a particular area, or to let them use it wherever it will do the most good.
- The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund was established by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation, the fund will coordinate donations with relief services.
- The Houston Food Bank is asking for donations, along with the Food Bank of Corpus Christi. Remember that monetary donations are likely more useful—even though these are food banks.
- There are also several local organizations coordinating blood donations, including the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center and Carter Blood Care. If you’re located nearby, consider donating to help get blood to those who need it quickly.
- Try contacting local shelters or food banks directly, or checking their websites for ways you can help or donate.
Help for pets
- The San Antonio Humane Society has a page set up with information on what you can do to help, including donations of money and supplies.
- The Houston SPCA has a disaster response hotline for animal emergencies, questions, or reports (713-861-3010). You can find more information or donate on their website.
- You can also donate to the Houston Humane Society, or the SPCA of Texas—they don’t have special pages set up for Harvey-related donations, but they will be able to use any help you can give. If you’ve been affected by the storm, the SPCA of Texas also has a great list of resources to help you find a safe place to stay with your pet.
Want to volunteer?
If you are in Texas or Louisiana and want to donate your time, consider these organizations:
- American Red Cross has a special application for Harvey volunteers
- Volunteer Houston is coordinating volunteer requests from around the city
- National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) is coordinating volunteer efforts, but they are also suggesting that financial donations will be most helpful for the time being.
There are so many ways you can help right now—these are just a few of the great people and organizations working to help Texas and Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. For more resources, we highly recommend starting with these great lists from the New York Times and NPR.