Good morning friends. This week has already been such a whirlwind so far. My heart breaks for my hometown and the city that I live in, and it is hard to not be there right now. The affects of Hurricane Harvey have done so much to that city and it is crazy to only be able to see it right now from social media and the news. My 2 girlfriends and I went on a girls trip last week to Nashville and luckily our family friend offered for us to stay at her daughters in Kentucky while we wait for the airports to re-open. Thank the Lord for great friends, but all I can think about is all of the people who have had to evacuate and the stress and emotions they must be feeling. Luckily and I don’t know how, but my car that is parked at Hobby Airport on the first floor of the parking garage seems to have no flooding there. Also my first floor apartment seems to be ok right now as well. A lot of my friends though have had to be evacuated and even some have had to be rescued. If you live in Houston you understand the bayous and the many creeks and how rapidly the flooding has taken over. I am so thankful for those who are using the resources that they have like boats and materials to go out and help those in need. My friend was rescued by the coast guard/fire department yesterday after having to go up to the 3rd floor of her apartment building and wait for hours because the current was so rough. It looks like my flight will possibly be scheduled back on Friday but we shall see. If you are like me and are not there and would like to help there are several different resources below that are extremely beneficial for those in need. Those that are safely able to get out of your area to donate items, that is extremely beneficial right now as well. Below are some tips and how to safely and effectively help those in need.
- Cash Donations: These seem to be the best type of donations right now and are the safest. A lot of the buildings might not be able to support all of the donations like food and supplies and some might not be able to receive the donations. Sending cash donations can accompany a lot of the needs and some organizations might have enough toiletries for instance but need more diapers, etc.
- American Red Cross/United Way/Salvation Army: A lot of these national organizations are helping tremendously with this effort and the chapters located in Houston are needing all that they can right now. Please make sure and visit their website or call as they might need specific items that you might have on hand. These are always an oldie but goodie organization when you are thinking of where to donate.
- Use Caution: If you do have a boat or supplies please use caution when you are out there helping people. A lot of the people that are in the fire department/coast guard are trained professionals in rescue recovery. It is so nice to see people all coming together to help others, just please be safe 🙂
- Giving Challenges: There are several companies that you do business with every day that have offered to either match your contribution or will donate a percentage of your order to help the Hurricane relief. Starbucks is offering donations at the register and United Mileage Plus members who donate a minimum of $50 to one of the charitable organizations will receive up to 1,000 bonus miles.
- Houston SPCA: It breaks my heart to see so many animals that need foster homes right now. You can sign up to foster those animals or to provide donations that the animals might need right now. This is such a great way to help those animals already in shelters or are coming in from the affected areas.
- Clean out Closets: If you are safe in your home please clean out your closets and offer clothing, toiletries, blankets and any other supplies that others might need. Please lend that helping hand. If your neighbors need something or any others now is the perfect time, and it is such a simple act of service that will do so much. There are lots of you that are going stir crazy so why not help out as much as you can!
- Use Social Media: I can’t tell you how many people have been rescued from posting on social media. It is doing amazing things for times like these where those that can help can share their posts and try to get help for others. I know I have been looking at it non-stop and trying to help and get updates as much as I can. In times like these having that and being able to post statuses is such a great technology to use right now. Also AT&T stopped charging overages and I am sure others will end up doing this too. This can really be your best communication right now.
- Airbnb is Waiving Fees: This is a great company that is waiving fees for those affected by the disaster and checking in between August 23-September 25. Please check this out as I know that over 30,000 are in shelters right now.
- Rescue Boats are Ready: If you know anyone that is in need of a rescue boat the company I work for Centerpoint Energy is going all around the cities with boats looking for rescues. Please call them at 713-945-6500 and they will help in this effort.
- Help Kids Stay Occupied: A lot of families have had to be taken to shelters all around the area. This can be very hard not only on the parents but on the kids as well. Art Mix Learning in Houston is helping with bringing children who are in shelters new and gently used crayons, paper, beads, board games, legos and more. If you would like to donate please email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sponsor a Family: One of my fellow Houston bloggers Sugar & Cloth has set up an amazing benefit and that is to help sponsor a specific family in need. They have received many emails from families that need specific items and have clothing needs, etc. If you are interested in getting matched directly with a family in need please email them at Harvey@sugarandcloth.com
- Send Thanks: If you are able to send a nice handwritten note or any type of thanks whether it is food or any other supplies to the first responders that is extremely appreciated. Your kids would love helping make thank you cards and if you are able to safely give these to the local hospitals, nursing homes, fire departments, police officers, etc. it would be much appreciated.
- Shelters & Needs: This website is probably one of the best resources to help victims of the Hurricane right now. It is an interactive map that shows exactly what the current needs are, volunteer needs, and the supplies that are needed. This is updated regularly and shows exactly what is closest to you and what places are collecting donations, etc. with addresses.
During this time of tragedy for Houston and the surrounding Gulf Coast regions it is important for everyone to come together as a family. It is times like these where we need all of the support and love we can get. If you are able to help in any way possible then please do as even a small donation of $5 to any of these organizatons will help. I thank you to those who have risked their lives for us and are continuing to keep all of us safe. I will continue to keep you updated on statuses via social media. Stay safe everyone, my prayers are with you and your family and friends.