It’s that usually very exciting and fun last-official-weekend-of-summer. But this year, we’ve found it hard to be in a full celebratory mood. Instead, we find ourselves concentrating on all the work that needs to be done to help the people devastated by Hurricane Harvey in Houston and the surrounding areas. The flood waters have begun to recede, but now the real work begins. We’ve searched through the news online and have come up with a short list of organizations who could use our help… your help… everyone’s help. #HoustonStrong.
As sewers and crafters, our instinctive response to a dire situation is often to create something handmade – something to comfort. But many of the articles we researched stressed an immediate need for cash donations. There is little storage available for bulkier items, such as quilts and teddy bears, and the necessities early-on are more likely to be food, shelter, clothing, and tools and supplies for clearing out and cleaning up. Different groups will, of course, have different requests; the core message seems to be, "Ask what they truly want."
Below are the local organizations we compiled via the websites of The New York Times, National Public Radio, and Consumer Reports, as well as local Houston area media outlets. If you know of additional organizations, please leave a comment below.
As in any situation such as this, you should do your research before donating. The list below contains the suggested groups we saw mentioned again and again, and we feel confident they are all valid. The Federal Trade Commission recommends you avoid charities that spring up too suddenly in response to current events and natural disasters. In addition, Charity Navigator, which identifies worthy charities, has a good list of organizations that are responding in the aftermath of Harvey.
- The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund of Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, which is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
- Houston Food Bank and the Food Bank of Corpus Christi
- 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.
- For out of area blood donations, American Red Cross has a special hurricane donation page.
- The Salvation Army is providing food and water to first responders and preparing for massive feeding efforts for residents.
- 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.
- The United Way of Greater Houston flood relief fund will be used to help with immediate needs as well as long-term services like minor home repair. Visit their website to donate or text UWFLOOD to 41444.
- The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has launched a Hurricane Harvey relief fund.
- 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.
- Sew4Home visitor, Michelle in Texas, suggests Samaritan's Purse.