Hurricane Harvey caused unprecedented severe flooding in Houston and other areas in Texas, damaging thousands of homes and communities. Now Hurricane Irma has made landfall in Florida.
Here’s a list of some of the organizations that are undertaking this work and how you can contribute to them:
- The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund of Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, which is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
- If you live in Texas, the City of Houston Emergency Operations Center has posted a list of places where you can drop off donations.
- Houston Food Bank and the Food Bank of Corpus Christi are asking for donations.
- The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center is reporting a critical shortage, and has extended hours at all of its San Antonio-area donor rooms. To donate, call 210-731-5590 or visit their website for more information.
- Carter BloodCare covers hospitals in North, Central and East Texas. To donate, call 877-571-1000 or text DONATE4LIFE to 444-999.
- To help animals suffering from the disaster, visit the Houston Humane Society or the San Antonio Humane Society. The Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has set up an animal emergency response hotline (713-861-3010) and is accepting donations on its website.
- The Texas Diaper Bank in San Antonio is asking for diapers and wipes, which can be dropped off in person or mailed to 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, Tex., 78238.
- For more options, the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends checking with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster for a list of trusted disaster-relief organizations in Texas.
- Volunteer Florida is the state’s lead agency for volunteers and donations before, during and after disasters. Volunteer Florida mobilizes and deploys resources to assist those responding to and recovering from disasters.
- Best Friends Animal Society: This national animal welfare organization has a page dedicated to locating and reporting missing pets and providing resources to pet owners in Irma-affected areas. You can donate to and volunteer to help with their pet rescue efforts.
- Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay, Inc. (RTTB) repairs homes of those in need. In the wake of Hurricane Irma, they will be seeking financial and volunteer support.
- National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), an association of organizations that mitigate and alleviate the impact of disasters, provides a forum promoting cooperation, communication, coordination and collaboration; and fosters more effective delivery of services to communities affected by disaster. Here’s how you can help.
- Florida’s hunger relief organization, Feeding Florida, works with foodbanks across the state to feed those in need.
- The American Red Cross is accepting donations on its website.
- AmeriCares takes medicine and supplies to survivors.
- Catholic Charities provides food, clothing, shelter and support services to those from all religious backgrounds.
- Direct Relief is shipping medicine and medical supplies to Texas, and has made its entire medical inventory of more than $100 million available for the Harvey relief effort.
- Donations to the Salvation Army can be made online, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) or texting STORM to 51555.
- Habitat for Humanity will be assessing shelter and housing needs caused by Hurricanes Harvey & Irma, and is accepting donations online to help aid their efforts.
- Save the Children is delivering baby supplies, including cribs and strollers, and setting up child-friendly spaces in Texas and Florida.
- The United Way flood relief fund will be used to help with immediate needs as well as long-term services like minor home repair for those areas affected by Harvey and Irma.
- AABB, which coordinates a task force to manage blood collection efforts during disasters, put out a call on Sunday for blood donations in the aftermath of Harvey. Most in demand: those with type O-positive blood.
Those interested in donating blood may contact the following organizations:
- AABB: 301-907-6977
- America’s Blood Centers
- American Red Cross: 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)
- Armed Services Blood Program: 703-681-5979
- YouCaring has a fund-raising page set up by J. J. Watt of the Houston Texans with a goal of $10 million. By 9:30 p.m. Wednesday it had raised more than $7 million.
- GlobalGiving’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund and Hurricane Irma Relief Fund supports local organizations by helping to “meet survivors’ immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products and shelter.” It will also assist with longer-term recovery efforts.
- Airbnb is waiving service fees for those affected by Harvey and checking in between Aug. 23 and Sept. 25, and can guide users in creating a listing where their home is offered to victims free.
HOW TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED:
While RCS isn’t endorsing or vouching for any of these groups, we do highly encourage you to do your research before making a donation. Here are some ways you can make sure your money is going to a good cause:
- Charity Navigator, which identifies worthy charities, has a handy list of organizations that are responding in the aftermath of the storm. Their extensive database provides a good starting place to research nonprofits.
- The Internal Revenue Service can also help you investigate an organization. Its search tool reveals whether or not an organization is eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.
- For advice on avoiding fraudsters, read Charity Navigator’s post on how to protect yourself, and check out these tips from the Federal Trade Commission.
“Be wary of charities that spring up too suddenly in response to current events and natural disasters,” the F.T.C. website says. “Even if they are legitimate, they probably don’t have the infrastructure to get the donations to the affected area or people.”
GoFundMe, the source of many new fund-raisers that popped up after Harvey, offers a way for donors and campaign organizers to communicate directly.
Bobby Whithorne, a spokesman for GoFundMe, said in an email that if a specific campaign is raising questions, “report the campaign directly to GoFundMe by clicking ‘Report Campaign’ on the GoFundMe campaign page or, report your concerns to the state Consumer Protection Hotline.”