StyleBlueprint note: With the historic flooding in Houston, where more rain has fallen than any other recorded rain event in our country’s history, we turned to StyleBlueprint writer, Houston-native Heidi Potter. While she now lives in Louisville, much of Heidi’s friends and family still live in Houston. She’s been following the devastation closely and knows how best to help.
Late yesterday afternoon, after rain for days, the sun shone in Houston. They had a bona fide sunset. Houstonians wept for joy that the relentless rain was finally over. But despite the storm moving off Houston as its center target, the bayous continue to rise and people are being evacuated … even in the absence of rain.
Let’s put this in perspective — 9 TRILLION GALLONS OF RAIN fell on Houston during Hurricane Harvey. That’s an inconceivable number to everyone. Houston has over 6.5 million people, all of whom were affected by this water in one way or another, to varying degrees.
Watching the news and trying to process the information is completely overwhelming. You want to help, but can’t seem to figure out how. The best piece of advice that we have ever shared is that MONEY IS BETTER THAN THINGS. Please do NOT send Houstonians gently used clothes, toys or toiletries — many organizations are not accepting them. Send in money for those things to be bought new. Right now, there are hundreds of volunteers all over Houston just going through mounds and mounds of donated items. When you look through a pile and all you can find is one shoe and an old t-shirt, that is a waste of everyone’s valuable time.
By donating money to targeted organizations, they can fill the needs of the storm victims right there. Also, because this recovery will likely go on for years, the money can be used during all points in this very long process.
If you can get yourself to Houston to donate time and be a volunteer, by all means go. They especially need medics and nurses, people in construction and people to deliver supplies, with working cars and boats. But if you can’t be there to offer hands-on help, here are best places to donate — and how.
HOW TO HELP HOUSTON
PO Box 37839, Boone, IA 50037-0839 • 800-HELP NOW (435-7669)
Text HARVEY to 90999
The Red Cross has been boots-on-the-ground since the beginning, giving support to all those in need. You can make a small (minimal) donation of $10 by either texting or donating online to help. The Red Cross is literally everywhere in Houston and all the surrounding areas affected. You can call them if you want to volunteer in person.
PO Box 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301 • (800) SAL-ARMY
Like the American Red Cross, these are the first responders. Their mission is “to feed, to clothe, to comfort, to care.” Donations to the Salvation Army help these people support all those affected by the hurricane. They are the first line of defense during these natural disasters and an invaluable resource to all who are impacted.
5120 Woodway Drive, Ste. 6000, Houston, TX 77056 • (713) 333-2200
email [email protected] or text HARVEY2017 to 91999
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner just established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that will accept tax-deductible donations for all victims of Hurricane Harvey. This fund is housed at the Greater Houston Community Foundation, which is a public charity. This is a great catch-all for monetary and physical donations as they connect donors and donations with a network of non-profits.
Early on during the storm, Texans football star J.J. Watt organized this fund through youcaring.com, which is a “compassionate crowdfunding” site. His initial goal was $1 million, and he raised that in mere hours. As of press time, the goal was raised to $10 million with over $6 million currently raised.
At press time, this fund, which is known as one of the largest global crowdfunding sites, was $500,000 short of its $2 million goal. According to their mission, they are focused on both the short-term and the long-term needs. They will provide victims with the basics of food, water and medicine and then will help during the rebuilding process. All donations are specifically earmarked for Harvey.
2900 Louisiana St., Houston, TX 77006 • (713) 526-4611
Whether it’s food, shelter and/or all other short- and long-term recovery needs, Catholic Charities works a wide web of networking and services. The Catholic Charities location in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is busy with disaster recovery and you can help. They are a key area of support for immigrants and refugees in their communities as well as the impoverished.
50 Waugh Drive, Houston, TX 77007 • (713) 685-2300
The United Way has started a specific relief fund for Hurricane Harvey, separate from its normal disaster relief fund. They support first responders, just like the Salvation Army and American Red Cross, and focus on the basic needs of food, shelter and safety and then the long-term rebuilding and recovery.
6171 Century Blvd., Ste. 310, Los Angeles, CA 90045 • (310) 640-8787
Team Rubicon is such a great concept. It matches military veterans with places of need for first responders and creates a crew of highly trained volunteers. You can help bring these great volunteers to Texas by donating.
535 Portwall St., Houston, TX 77029 • (713) 223-3700
They are the largest food bank in the area, providing food, water and supplies to all those affected by the storm. Any monetary donation is appreciated, as food will be needed long after the waters subside. If you are in the area, food donations are appreciated as well.
1524 South I H 35, #342, Austin, TX 78704 • (512) 527-3613
Feeding Texas is a state-wide network of food banks that provide food to those in need. Donating here will cover vast areas that were affected by the hurricane, not just Houston. They are providing food boxes, shelter meals and cleaning supplies to all in need.
A grassroots organization, Portlight has provided relief to people with disabilities through other natural disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. They help aid in their rescue and get them their medical needs after they evacuate. They have been providing inclusive relief for over 20 years.
Direct Relief operates the largest charitable medicine program in the United States, offering medicine, prescription drugs and other medical supplies to those who need it most during emergency situations. They also work with doctors and the medical community to ensure people are getting adequate attention.
This coalition finds shelter for the homeless in Houston, which is a daunting task even before the destruction of Hurricane Harvey. Monetary donations made to the Coalition through September 8, 2017, will be used to help formerly homeless individuals get back into housing.
Do you have a free space for someone displaced by the storm to stay? You can list your home or your room on Airbnb for free, with no service charges. This is a great way to contribute. Most listings are in nearby dry places in Texas.
If there are 6.5 million residents in Houston, can you imagine how many pets there are? All of the following organizations are taking animals displaced from the storm. Donations will greatly help with pet supplies, food and other creature comforts.
14700 Almeda Road, Houston, TX 77053 • (713) 433-6421
900 Portway Drive, Houston, TX 77024 • (713) 869-SPCA (7722)
2400 Lone Star Drive, Dallas, TX 75212 • (214) 742-7722
Texans have a lot of pride, but they also need so much help — now and in the countless days ahead.Any donation makes a difference!