Floridians are no strangers to the catastrophic effects of hurricanes. The devastation Harvey has brought to Texas families is staggering. Recovery will take months, perhaps years. During that time hundreds of thousands of Texas students will be displaced from their schools and homes – some may not have homes to go back to. We can only imagine the stress and desperation that students, teachers, school employees and their families are facing.
Times like these remind us how much we depend upon each other. As you well know, educators are by nature resourceful and generous. So it is no surprise that our members are asking how they can help Houston. Here are some agencies which are offering help to Texas families:
Help with Rescue efforts:
- Portlight Strategies is working to help to help older adults and those with disabilities. Donate here.
- The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Texas is helping displaced animals. You can donate at www.spca.org/give or sign up to adopt a displaced animal at www.spca.org/foster. Austin Pets Alive, which transferred more than 200 pets to its shelter as of Saturday morning, is also seeking help.
- Texas AFT has a long history of assisting members in need. Donations to their relief fund will be used only for disaster relief and no other purpose. You can visit their web page for more information.
- NEA has created a relief fund with the NEA Foundation. They are accepting contributions to support public school educators who are NEA/TSTA members affected by Hurricane Harvey, personally, and at the schools where they work. Click here to donate.
Provide shelter and supplies
- Food banks are asking for nonperishable staples like canned meat and dry goods, as well as cleaning supplies; the Houston Food Bank, Galveston County Food Bank, Food Bank of the Golden Crescent and Corpus Christi Food Bank all accept online donations. See the Houston Press’s list of names and contact information for more food banks here.
- You can donate to Feeding Texas, a network of food banks across the state.
- You can also open your home to disaster victims through Airbnb.
- Make a cash donation to the Texas Diaper Bank, which is providing emergency diaper kits to displaced families.
Make a donation
- Several local and national organizations are collecting donations for general disaster relief efforts, including the United Way, Salvation Army, Save the Children, Global Giving, Heart to Heart and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has set up a flood relief fund, backing the effort with his own $100,000 donation.
- Gofundme has curated a list of Harvey relief efforts, with fundraisers for individual cities, families and homes.
- Individuals and corporations can donate to hurricane relief efforts through the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
- You can help Hurricane Harvey victims by texting HARVEY to 90999 to give $10 to the Red Cross (or by visiting RedCross.org to give any other amount).
- The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, established by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, is accepting donations for flood victims.
Several hospitals are reporting blood shortages and seeking donations in the wake of the storm. O negative and O positive donations are particularly helpful, but people of all blood types are encouraged to donate.
- You can donate blood through the Red Cross.
Volunteer your time
Experts expect it’ll take some time before the floodwaters drain in Houston. In the meantime, several groups are seeking volunteers to help with recovery efforts.
- Volunteers can sign up for trips to the affected area through organizations like Samaritan’s Purse, Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
- Volunteer Houston has launched a virtual Volunteer Reception Center to aid nonprofit agencies in flood relief efforts. More information here.
- Remote Area Medical is seeking medical personnel, as well as general support and supplies, to help with rescue efforts. Contact RAM at email@example.com or 865-579-1530.