Texans Helping Texans: Houston Needs Our Help

In the wake of the Hurricane Harvey Disaster, we’ve seen countless images and heard numerous stories of our fellow Texans that need our help. So many stories that we may begin to feel overwhelmed. However, help is arriving. Help from celebrities, corporations and individuals is beginning to pour into the Texas Gulf Coast. Even some grocery chains are filling trucks and are ready to go at a moment’s notice. CBS has recently reported that the list is getting longer every hour.

What Corporate America is doing to help Hurricane Harvey victims

With the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey expected to make it one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history, some big U.S. companies are chipping in to help victims of the storm.

The Home Depot Foundation will donate $1 million to be disbursed across several organizations, including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Convoy of Hope, Operation Blessing and Team Rubicon. In a statement, the company said it would “mobilize its army of Team Depot volunteers to help in the cleanup effort and deliver recovery supplies to the hardest hit areas.”

Walmart (WMT) pledged at least $1 million in cash, along with product donations equivalent to at least $1 million, to  a number of relief organizations, including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and Convoy of Hope.

Along with donating $500,000 to the American Red Cross, Home hardware company Lowe’s (LOW) said it would expedite clean-up and recovery supplies to its stores in Texas, including generators, bottled water, gas cans, chainsaws, water removal equipment, shovels, rakes and other gear.

Google announced it is making a $250,000 donation and matching up to $250,000 of employee donations to the American Red Cross.

United Airlines will award up to 3 million total bonus miles to its loyalty program members who donate to the American Red Cross, AmeriCares, Airlink or Operation USA through the company’s fundraising page. The carrier will also match the first $100,000 raised.

Here are some ways you can help victims of Hurricane Harvey:

FEMA Administrator Brock Long encouraged Americans who want to help storm victims to connect with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) online, which is coordinating donations and volunteers.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, which accepts tax-deductible donations for flood-relief victims. The organization will accept checks, money orders, bank wire transfers, stock, corporate bonds and other marketable securities (see donation instructions.)

The American Red Cross is accepting donations by phone and online. Donors may text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Houston Texans star JJ Wattset up an online fundraiser called the Houston Flood Relief Fund on the YouCaring crowdfunding site. Watt has personally donated $100,000 to help people affected by the storm.

Harvey, which has been downgraded to a tropical storm, continued to dump historic levels of rainfall on the Houston area Monday as floods swamped the nation’s fourth-largest city. Rising water chased thousands of people to rooftops or higher ground and overwhelmed rescuers who could not keep up with the constant calls for help.

The National Weather Service says flooding isn’t expected to peak until Wednesday or Thursday.

But, that’s only the beginning. More and more support is being provided by our neighbors to help the Gulf Coast recover. National Public Radio (NPR) has published an extensive list of how individual people and smaller groups can help.

Here’s How You Can Help People Affected By Harvey

Two and a half days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall and dropped more than two feet of rain, thousands of people in Houston and along the Gulf Coast have been displaced. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott activated the entire Texas National Guard.

FEMA Administrator Brock Long estimated Monday that 30,000 people may need shelter, and some 450,000 may qualify for federal flood victim assistance.

As Harvey continues to dump rain on the Gulf Coast and floodwaters rise, many organizations are doing vital work to help save lives and give comfort.

Here’s a list of some of the organizations that are undertaking this work and how you can contribute to them.

Of course, NPR isn’t endorsing or vouching for any of these groups. It’s a good idea to do a bit of research on any charity before you donate to it. One place to start is Charity Navigator.

General Relief

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner established a Harvey relief fund at The Greater Houston Community Foundation. The organization connects donors with a network of nonprofits and innovative solutions in the social sector.

GlobalGiving, which calls itself the largest global crowdfunding community, has a goal of raising $2 million for its Harvey relief fund. Funds will be used first for immediate needs of food, water and shelter, and then transition to long-term recovery efforts.

United Way of Greater Houston has launched a relief fund for storm-related needs and recovery. The organization says it already maintains a disaster relief fund, but it anticipates the needs of Harvey will far exceed those existing resources.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has also launched a Hurricane Harvey relief fund. The organization says its strategy emphasizes “investing well rather than investing quickly, addressing the greatest needs and gaps in funding that may be yet to emerge.”

GoFundMe, the social fundraising site, has created a landing page that gathers the campaigns on its platform related to Harvey.

The Salvation Army says it is providing food and water to first responders and preparing for massive feeding efforts for residents.

Send Relief and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief says its teams began responding before Harvey made landfall and continues on-the-ground relief work.

Samaritan’s Purse is accepting donations as well as volunteers for Harvey disaster relief for the coming months.

Blood

In addition to the American Red Cross, Carter BloodCare and the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center are local organizations accepting blood donations.

Shelter

Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County coordinates the city’s response to homelessness, serving as “a backbone organization” to groups that offer direct service. It has been providing updated information on shelters with available beds.

Airbnb has set up an urgent accommodations site, where people can open their homes to evacuees from the storm or find shelter themselves. Service fees are waived for those who check in by Sept. 1.

Food

A number of food banks will be aiding the affected region. Consider donating money instead of food, as it allows a food bank to use your donation most efficiently.

Feeding Texas is a statewide nonprofit that works alongside state and federal relief efforts. The organization says it steps in during major disasters to “coordinate with the state and other providers so that relief reaches families quickly and the ‘second disaster’ of an unorganized response is avoided.”

Here’s its list of food banks in Texas likely affected by Harvey:

Houston Food Bank

Galveston Food Bank

Food Bank of the Golden Crescent (Victoria)

Corpus Christi Food Bank

Southeast Texas Food Bank (Beaumont)

Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley (Pharr)

Brazos Valley Food Bank (Bryan)

Central Texas Food Bank (Austin)

San Antonio Food Bank

People With Disabilities

Portlight Strategies facilitates projects involving people with disabilities, including post-disaster relief work. The organization says its hotline for Inclusive Disaster Strategies has received urgent requests from people in need.

Kids

The Texas Diaper Bank, based in San Antonio, works to meet the basic needs of vulnerable babies, children with disabilities, and seniors. It focuses on providing partner agencies with diapers and goods.

Animals

The SPCA of Texas is organizing evacuations of pets in Texas (including 123 cats from a shelter in Corpus Christi), and offers resources on pet-friendly housing for evacuees.

Austin Pets Alive! says it has transported more than 235 animals to its shelter. The organization seeks donations, as well as people who can adopt animals. It says it has received so many donated supplies that it’s running out of storage space, so financial donations are what it needs most.

At Berkeys, our employees are devoted members of our communities. Berkeys team members are ready and willing to help whenever there is a need.

When you need a dependable, knowledgeable plumber, electrician or HVAC technician in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, call a name you trust. Berkeys Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical 24/7, Call us 972-439-1581 or visit berkeys.com for questions and scheduling information or on Facebook at Facebook.com/Berkeys.

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