As predicted, Hurricane Harvey has turned out to be one hell of a storm, blasting the Houston area with some of the most treacherous rain the United States has ever seen. The flooding has already taken 30 lives and continues to do damage as it makes it way to the Texas-Louisiana border. While all of us are sending thoughts and prayers, there’s more we can do to aid Harvey’s victims during this hard time. So here are six ways to help, most of which don’t involve giving money.
1. Donate dollars
Whenever there’s a horrendous natural disaster, the Red Cross and Salvation Army come to the rescue. The Red Cross is currently mobilizing disaster relief workers to support this response effort, and it has shelters ready to open and support thousands of people. Trailers full of shelter and relief supplies have been pre-positioned including cots, blankets, comfort and cleaning supplies. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
The Salvation Army is collecting funds to help those affected by the storm. Though most people think of donating clothing or household items first, SA spokesperson Alvin Migues, has said that physical donations can be a challenge during a disaster: “You have to spend manpower to deal with sorting and other things as they come into the warehouses instead of having those folks out in the field doing the work. So we always asked people to send a cash donation instead,” he added. You can donate online at disaster.salvationarmyusa.org or by phone at 1-800-725-2769.
2. Let victims stay at your home
If you live in a surrounding area, you can offer to provide free accommodations to hurricane evacuees through Airbnb. The service is waiving all fees until September 25th.
3. Physically volunteer
If you don’t want to donate money, then donate your time. Many charities, including human service organizations and animal welfare charities, are looking for volunteers. For the Red Cross, you can sign up on the organization’s website.
4. Give blood
Whenever there’s a natural disaster, there are injuries. Blood banks have been urging people to donate since demand for blood can rise, especially as patients are evacuated from hospitals. You can find a local blood drive on the Red Cross website, by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or by using the Red Cross blood donor app.
5. Donate diapers
Storm victims who have babies are in desperate need of diapers. “Diapers are not provided by disaster relief agencies,” the Texas Diaper Bank posted on Facebook last Friday. So the TDB is requesting donations of cash and diapers to provide emergency diaper kits for families that are being displaced due to Hurricane Harvey. Visit the donation page at texasdiaperbank.organd designate your donation for Disaster Relief.
6. Adopt a pet
If you’ve been considering adding a furry friend to your household, there’s no better time to do so than right now. Animal welfare organizations in Texas and around the country are likely to take in pets that have lost their owners in this storm. New Jersey-based St. Hubert’s Center has listed 12 Northeast animal sheltersthat are expected to take up to 100 shelter dogs from the storm area. Check out those shelters first when adopting.
Photo: Getty Images / Joe Raedle / Staff