Thinking About Giving
As we move toward action-oriented responses in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, please consider these tips to make well-informed, responsible decisions.
GIVE MONEY, NOT “STUFF”
While it can seem helpful to send donated goods to a disaster area, this type of support can actually be a hindrance with truckloads of water and used clothing and nowhere to store it. Unless responding to a direct request for goods, sending monetary financial support is always a better bet. Financially support relief agencies that are responding directly to help individuals and communities affected, such as these:
- National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster
- Greater Houston Community Foundation
- United Methodist Committee on Relief
- American Red Cross
- Salvation Army
- Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies
- World Vision
- Global Giving
- Save the Children
- SBP - Shrinking Time Between Disaster and Recovery
- SPCA Texas
- United Way of Greater Houston
DO NOT SELF-DEPLOY
In the same way that it can be difficult to manage “stuff” it can also be difficult in a disaster to manage people. If you are looking to volunteer, particularly during the response phase, don’t just show up! Make sure you are working through organizations with disaster expertise so you can stay safe and not get in the way. Sign up before you show up - capacity is stretched during disasters and you need to make sure that you can be utilized.
Disasters go in cycles, beginning with response and rescue and moving into recovery. Response gets the most news coverage, but recovery has the greatest needs. Communities hit by disasters need help long after the cameras have left and public attention has dissipated, so think about how you can step up in the months and years to come.
Confirm what is needed BEFORE taking action. Donate in-kind goods that are specifically requested or needed by recognized organizations. Confirm the needs by contacting the voluntary organization of your choice before starting to collect.
- Texas Diaper Bank - In need of diapers
- United Methodist Committee on Relief - Make cleaning buckets and hygiene kits
- Houston Food Bank - Donate food/supplies or financially support
- Food Bank of Corpus Christi - Donate food/supplies or financially support
- Donating For Life: South Texas Blood & Tissue Center - Donate blood (locally)
- Red Cross - Donate blood
- Charity Navigator - List of organizations in need of support
Here are a few ways you can get involved locally:
- First Baptist Georgetown - Make material donations
- United Way Williamson County - Give financially or participate in the supply drive
- Texas Diaper Bank - Give financially or donate diapers
- Austin Pets Alive - Make material donations or foster animals
- Austin Disaster Relief - Give financially
Follow news coverage to stay informed and updated. Take time to learn what the needs are. Follow social media and stay tuned to reports from the scene. Responders will be quick to share what is needed (and what is not).
Want more information about how to volunteer and donate responsibly?
Here are some helpful resources: