Helping After Harvey

 

Local United Ways across Texas and Louisiana are helping communities face the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, offering resources and support wherever they are needed.

It will take all of us working together and showing what it means to LIVE UNITED to help these regions overcome this historic crisis. Here are ways you can help:

DONATE TO RELIEF EFFORTS
The most effective and impactful way to support disaster survivors in their recovery is to donate money to organizations with the local expertise and network needed to address the long-term needs of these communities.

Cash donations offer these organizations the most flexibility to address urgent and rapidly-developing needs. With cash in hand, these nonprofits can obtain needed resources nearer to the disaster location. This inflow of cash also pumps money back into the local economy and helps local businesses recover faster. Find a list of United Ways you can donate to at http://www.unitedway.org/the-latest/press/hurricane-harvey. 100% of funds raised will support both short-term response and long-term rebuilding efforts.

Please do not donate unsolicited goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, medicine, or perishable foodstuffs at this time. When used personal items are donated, the helping agencies must redirect their staff away from providing direct services to survivors in order to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.

Donate through a trusted organization.  In addition to United Ways, the Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Texas VOAD) has a list of vetted disaster relief organizations providing services to survivors.  Texas VOAD represents more than three dozen faith-based, community, nonprofit and non-governmental organizations. If people would like to donate to the Red Cross they can go to redcross.org, call 1-800-HELP-NOW or text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 gift. The public is also welcome to donate blood by visiting redcrossblood.org to schedule an appointment.

If you donate supplies, please contact agencies prior to sending donations to ensure they have the volunteer support and distribution methods ready for items to be used efficiently. Here are several organizations that have shared their needs publicly:

The American Red Cross of South Central Kentucky has asked that people wanting to donate items in the name of Red Cross deliver them to Goodwill in the name of Red Cross, who can then refer clients to their local Goodwill as a community partner.

Texas Diaper Bank – In need of any size diapers. Diapers can be mailed to 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, TX 78238. 

Trusted World’s Donation Center  - Drop off, or mail, items at Trusted World’s donation center at 15660 North Dallas Parkway (north of Arapaho Road), Dallas, from 3 to 8 p.m. daily through Sept. 1. Items needed include toiletries, feminine hygiene products, diapers, baby food, baby wipes and nonperishable food. The only clothing items that are needed at this time are packs of underwear and socks.

San Antonio the Food Bank is collecting the following to assist flood victims. Their most needed items are nonperishable food, water, baby food, diapers, flashlights and batteries, hygiene items, and cleaning supplies. They are also collecting clothing items are men’s and women’s tops, pants, socks, and undergarments. All clothing donations must be NEW & UNUSED. Donations can be dropped off at the Food Bank warehouse or at the San Antonio City Council district offices. The San Antonio Food Bank can be contacted at 210-337-3663 or safoodbank.org.

TO PERSONALLY VOLUNTEER IN THE DISASTER AREAS
The State of Texas is asking volunteers to not self-deploy, as unexpectedly showing up to any of the communities that have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey will create an additional burden for first responders.

The National VOAD has also noted the situation may not be conducive to volunteers entering the impacted zone and individuals may find themselves turned away by law enforcement.

To ensure volunteer safety, as well as the safety of disaster survivors, volunteers should only go into affected areas with a specific volunteer assignment, proper safety gear, and valid identification.

At this time, potential volunteers are asked to register with a voluntary or charitable organization of their choice, many of which are already in Texas and supporting survivors on the ground.

The National and Texas VOAD websites are offering links to those who wish to register to volunteer with community- and faith-based organizations working in the field.

Most importantly, please be patient. Although the need is great, and desire to help strong, it is important to avoid donating material goods or self-deploying to help until communities are safe and public officials and disaster relief organizations have had an opportunity to assess the damage and identify what the specific unmet needs are.

Volunteer generosity helps impacted communities heal from the tragic consequences of disasters, but recovery lasts much longer than today. There will be volunteer needs for many months, and years, after the disaster, so sign up now.

Tropical Storm Harvey is still dangerous, with the potential to impact additional areas of Texas and Louisiana. As the situation changes, needs may also change in these areas. Continue monitoring traditional and social media channels to learn more.