If you’ve been on social media or following any type of news outlet, you’re probably aware of Hurricane Harvey and the devastating effect it has had on Texas. Harvey has left many families, children, and pets stranded, homeless, and injured. Food banks, shelters, and volunteers need supplies to fulfill the needs of those who were left with nothing. However, here are a few things to consider before you give back.
Volunteer with a Plan
If you plan to volunteer or help out, don’t just arrive unexpected. In fact, this can burden many first responders and others already there. Not to mention, you don’t want to be in the way of cleanup crew and other organizations if you aren’t accounted for. If you’d like to volunteer do it through a legitimate organization such as, Volunteer Houston. This way you have access to supplies, gear, and other tools that can help the victims, rather than become a burden. It’s great to help others, especially in their time of need, but natural disasters take time to recover from and require a thorough plan.
No matter how big or small, giving even $1 can help multiple families and their communities.
Many locals and people around the Houston area have pitched in to help their neighbors. However, you don’t have to be local to help out. Thanks to the internet there are many organizations you can donate to online. From food banks to hospitals, many are in need of help because of the high demand to provide emergency services to others.
Even better, many companies are matching the donations you give, so your money goes even further to helping the many who need it.
If you plan to donate items such as, toiletries, non-perishable items, and clothing, make sure the shelter or other public center has the room for it. Organizations like National VOAD are collecting both cash and physical donations, just make sure to fill out the donation form first!
Blood is also a critical necessity during an emergency or natural disaster. Many affected by this hurricane are also in need of medical assistance. Therefore, The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center is also desperately in need of donors.
The same goes for other supplies like diapers. In fact, the Texas Diaper Bank is collecting donations for babies and seniors alike. Diapers, wipes, and other sanitary products are needed to help those who rely on these products every day.
Many common things we take for granted like water, clothing, and shelter become a necessity during a disaster, so let’s help the people of Houston put a bit of normality back into their daily routines!
Animals unfortunately also suffer from a natural disaster. Many are left stranded, abandoned, or homeless. Many shelters and humane societies become overwhelmed and cannot care for every single animal without the proper funds or tools.
The Houston SPCA is asking for donations online and many more volunteers need your help to provide care for injured and homeless animals.
In fact, Linda Hurteau, a local member in our community, is heading down south to assist and rescue big breed dogs affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Linda is leaving in a few weeks, and needs some supplies before she heads out.
Things that are needed for the trip include:
- Blankets, towels, and sheets with no rips, tears or loose ends (these don’t have to be brand new)
- Cleaning supplies (paper towels, clorox wipes, dawn dish liquid soap, latex gloves, sponges, trash bags, and kleenex)
- Dog treats, dog bowls, and dog food
- Dog leashes/ harnesses
- Puppy/Dog Toys (toys include Kongs, rope toys, rawhides, and Nylabones)
- Jars of all meat baby food (these are for orphaned puppies)
- Office supplies (Sharpies, sticky notes, pens, and scotch tape)
Our agency will be one of the many drop off locations to help Linda on her trip, so feel free to stop in and donate a few supplies. If you can’t make it in, you can always make a donation to Big Fluffy Dog Rescue, the organization Linda will be working with when she heads down.
Be Careful of Scams
Lastly, before you make any type of donation, do your research and be careful where you send your money.
Sadly with any tragic event there are always people looking to take advantage of people and steal their money. The good news is that there are a lot more people helping others after this storm, however, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious and careful of where you send your personal information to.
For example, most of the charity scams occur on social media, particularly with Twitter’s spam bots. Clicking the wrong link can put your information at risk and give your money to a thief rather than someone in need.
This isn’t the first time this has happened either. For example, charity scams like these occur after many natural disasters and catastrophes. It’s sad that thieves try to take advantage of people’s good intentions, but it’s a reality when a major event occurs.
So, before you click or tap the donate button, do your research and make sure your money is going to the victims or first responders.
You can also use tools such as Charity Navigator to help you find legitimate charities or food banks in the Houston area. Charities on this website are legitimate, so you can rest assured your money is going to the right people.
Any tragedy is heartbreaking and hard on any community, and even though our insurance agency is in Connecticut, Texas is still in our thoughts. Are there any ways you’re giving back to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey? If so, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.