Hurricane Harvey: How You Can Help

Hurricane Harvey: Texas National Guard evacuates residents

Hurricane Harvey:  How You Can Help


By now you've seen the photos of the disaster happening in Houston, TX and surrounding areas as a result of Hurricane Harvey.  Homes flooded, cars submerged, nursing home residents stranded in waist deep water, neighbors and rescue groups evacuating people and pets.  Most of us are trying to figure out how we can help.

One of the hot topics right now in nonprofit discussion groups is how people from across the nation can help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.  The best recommendation is to contribute money.  Even the smallest amount contributed to an organizationon the ground is more helpful than sending "stuff".

But, haven't these people lost everything?  Don't they need food and clothing?  Wouldn't a teddy bear bring comfort to a child?  

Unfortunately, well meaning people who put together donations of "stuff" often contribute to what is known as the second disaster.  What on earth is that?  It's when stuff that isn't ordered or needed arrives by the truck load at a disaster site.  This takes desperately needed manpower and money away from the local organizations because now they have to deal with the "stuff".  They have to unload it, sort it, store it, and then figure out what to do with it later. If you looked through the photos linked to above, consider the very great need of the people you see in rescue and group situations.  Now, think of what it would be like if the volunteers who are helping have to take additional time to sort through well intended donations.  Please, send money instead.

In a disaster, needs on the ground change rapidly as the situation evolves.  Disaster relief organizations are better equipped to anticipate and meet the needs as they evolve.  If it takes you a week to collect the donation items and then several days to ship them, the needs may have already changed.  It's also important to consider that shipping times are impacted by the disaster.  If you donate money, the organizations can offer a more nimble response.

If you're looking for a way to donate and don't know of a reputable organization, we suggest you consider this list compiled for the Houston area.  This group opposes donating to the American Red Cross and provides another list of organizations for those who share that concern.   Please do your own due diligence before donating.  We urge you to consider even a small donation.  If you'd like to donate water, donate the cost of a case of water!  Every little bit will help.


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