My heart and prayers are with the people of South Texas. I had fully intended on writing about a much different topic this week, but due to the horrific, tragic events that took place in Houston and surrounding areas, I wanted to blog about what we can do to help out. Hurricane Harvey was one of the most horrific hurricanes ever experienced in the United States, wreaking havoc on South Texas as it dumped more than 50 inches of rain in some areas. Sadly, several families, children and animals perished in this monstrous storm. While the storm inched along at sometimes only 1-2 mph, torrential downpour forced hundreds of thousands of Southeast Texas residents to flee their homes and cars by any means necessary. Many residents broke through their roofs to flag for help, used social media to get assistance, and horrifically waited in rising water for hours before they were able to be reached. Now that the storm has passed, millions of people all over the world are ready to serve and give in any way that they can. I wanted to pull together some resources for those that want to help these great Texans out when they need it the most. Here are 5 Ways you Can Help the Victims of Hurricane Harvey now.
Adopt a Family
For many families, the rebuilding process is going to be staggering. With reports that as many as 80% of all Hurricane Harvey victims do not have flood insurance, a crippling amount of families will need as much help as possible to bring their lives some level of normalcy. There has been talk of adopting families, which is very similar to the “Adopt an Angel” program that we participate in during the holiday season. While I’m not sure if there’s an official program for the hurricane victims, it’s not too early to take in a family that will need some assistance. With the rapid-fire distribution of images and descriptions of survivors, it’s very easy to locate a family that may need some help. If you’d rather not contact a family directly, feel free to outreach local church groups and organizations to see if you can identify a family that could use some help. And, by all means, please don’t obligate yourself to try to get the family everything that they need. It can be something as small as toiletries, or a giftcard to use for food. Even making the smallest of gestures will go a long way for these families. If you can commit to helping one, help out with what you can, and they will gladly appreciate the help.
Donate to an Organization You Trust
Luckily, there are a ton of organizations out there that have relief funds in place for those in need. If you’re weary about donating to a major non-profit, there is a plethora of other options that are available for you. I personally am donating to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, which was organized by the current mayor of Houston. I also included a list here of other charitable causes that you can donate to. Again, give what is in your heart, and what you’re comfortable with. Please note that these donations are tax deductible, and will be used to help the people that need it the most.
Sometimes, the best way to help those in need is to be there to lend a helping hand, a listening ear, and a shoulder to cry on. If you’re concerned about your ability to assist financially, consider volunteering your time to help those in need. Right now, there are tons of volunteer drives happening all over the country to gather items to send in to Houston. These organizations need people on foot to help support their distribution efforts. If you are interested in volunteering, consider visiting www.volunteermatch.org to locate local opportunities in your area.
Check with your Local Churches, Shelters and Employers
If you’re looking to partner specifically with a church or shelter, consider reaching out to them directly to find out if they are currently conducting a drive or fundraiser for the cause. In addition, many companies have begun initiating their own programs to help victims of Hurricane Harvey. Reach out to your HR representative to see if there is anything that is or will be in place that you can be a part of. Currently, my employer is not only collecting clothing and food items, but is also matching all monetary employee donations! Make sure to confirm if a program such as this exists with your employer.
Point Those in Need towards Resources
As we speak, there are people that are in extreme distress, and are experiencing pain, hunger, fatigue and uncertainty over their future. Being a resource for those that may need help is an excellent way to give back. For example, mothers in need of diapers can go to http://www.texasdiaperbank.org/ to get resources to help with their children. For those that may be experiencing mental health issues regarding this traumatic event, there is a disaster hotline available to them to talk with someone. It is proven that natural disasters can increase the amount of PTSD and suicide amongst those affected, so getting people in touch with those that can help is truly beneficial. Seek any valuable resources that you can find, so that they’re readily available for someone in need.
I truly believe it is all of our responsibility to look out for our neighbors, both near and far. A small bit of kindness goes a long way, especially when people’s entire lives have been completely changed. If you have not done anything yet, I encourage you to consider ways in which you are able to help those impacted. Together, we can certainly bring back joy, peace and comfort for those who seriously need it right now. In what way do you think you can best help these hurricane victims? Let me know if I missed any ideas on ways we can help, XO!
With Love, Melanie