Featured image: (Courtesy of National Geographic) The flooding of Houston after Hurricane Harvey. Photo by Marcus Yam of the Los Angeles Times.
As I’m sure you know, Houston, Texas was hit by Hurricane Harvey last week, and the devastation was astounding. The largest amount of destruction came from heavy, lasting rains leading to flooding in many areas, which in turn, has left many people stranded in shelters, homeless until further notice. As some of you may know, many members of my family live in Houston. Some of them were actually in Florida at the time, and they were unable to travel home until this week. Others were fortunate enough to only deal with minor flooding, while some of my family lost all of their belongings and their home is destroyed. Thankfully, everyone is safe and possessions are replaceable, but I felt it was important to share ways to give back to Houston in its time of need.
It can be overwhelming when faced with hundreds of links to click on to donate to the efforts — everyone wants to help, which is awesome, but how do you know where your money will best help? My advice? Donate local — find local food banks, animal shelters, and charities to donate to because, typically, that is where the most money is actually going toward providing relief.
I’ve compiled a list of places you can donate to below, but there are hundreds of organizations accepting donations and providing aid at this time. If there is a cause you feel passionately about, I suggest simply Googling it (i.e. animal shelters in Houston), and you can find the best match for you.
Houston Relief Efforts
If you want to donate…
All Hands Volunteers*
A US based non-profit, All Hands Volunteers is focused on helping communities rebuild after a natural disaster. It is dedicated to “Rebuilding Hope” and providing aid to communities during a time of great need. All Hands is conscious in its efforts to provide sustainable help, meaning that when it rebuilds devastated areas, it partners with the community to ensure that any materials used to rebuild are easily accessible and that more safety measures are put in place in case anything should happen in the future, such as establishing more evacuation centers.
Photo from http://www.hands.org/about-us/
Americares is devoted to bringing health-focused relief to areas that have been affected by natural disasters or poverty. According to its donation link, every $10 donated can provide $200 worth of aid. Not only does it provide relief efforts, but Americares has been in operation for 40 years providing emergency programs, increased access to medical care and medication, and clinical services.
Photo from http://www.americares.org
If you’re interested in helping out the sweet animals of Houston, you can give today to the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. According to a USA Today article, thousands of pets have been affected by the hurricane. You can also donate to Best Friends, Houston Humane Society, and Austin Pets Alive!* All of these organizations are dedicated to providing aid to the helpless animals we all love so much throughout the year and in times of disaster.
Photo from http://www.houstonspca.org/
Feeding Texas is dedicated to a hunger-free Texas through awareness and education and steps-up to provide aid when disaster strikes. Other food banks you can donate to include the Houston Food Bank, the Galveston County Food Bank, and The Food Bank of Corpus Christi. (See a full list of food banks receiving donations to help with hurricane relief efforts at the end of this article.) Food banks are actually urging people to donate money rather than send supplies because it requires less man-power to sort through, and the banks can get what they know they will need.
Photo from www.feedingtexas.org/work/
See a list of other places you can donate money to support relief efforts here.
If you want to give but also get…
Magnolia — Texas Forever Shirt
Joanna and Chip Gaines from HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” actually have a store in downtown Waco, Texas, Magnolia Market. Purchase this shirt (in person or online) before September 30, and all proceeds will go toward Harvey relief efforts. With shipping, this is a total of $30 going toward helping the victims.
Photo from http://www.shop.magnoliamarket.com
James Savery – Deep in the Heart of Texas Charm
This artisan jewelry store has five manufacturing locations around Texas. 100 percent of proceeds from all purchases of the “Deep in the Heart of Texas Charm” from the store before September 30 will be donated to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. The charm costs $40.00, and you can get it in sterling silver or gold.
Photo from http://www.jamessavory.com
Lime Crime – Beet It Matte Velvetine
For all you make-up junkies out there, make your next liquid lipstick purchase go toward a good cause. Lime Crime is donating 100 percent of proceeds from the sale of it’s Matte Velvetine in the shade “Beet It” to relief efforts until further notice. Bonus: All of its products are vegan and cruelty free!
Photo from http://www.limecrime.com
See a list of other places you can make a purchase to make an impact here.
Thank you for even considering donating to help out with these efforts. My parents (and brother, but he was only one-year-old at the time) were horrifically impacted by Hurricane Andrew when it struck the east coast of Florida in 1992 (the roof collapsed and nearly killed my brother, they lost their home, and they were without power for months). Though they did receive assistance from large organizations like the Red Cross, social media and outreach were nothing like they are today. I am thankful for the power the Internet has given us to lend aid to those hundreds (or even thousands) of miles away from us.
As of September 5, Hurricane Irma is a category five hurricane headed for Puerto Rico. Projected paths have the hurricane headed in many different directions, but Florida is very likely to be in its path. Currently, my hometown is preparing for the worst, stocking up on hurricane supplies and moving to safer ground. It’s horrible that Irma is striking so soon after Harvey, an unprecedented occurrence. Although Houston needs your help now, please keep Florida in your thoughts as this hurricane travels closer and closer to us.
Links marked with an * I have donated to personally.