After Hurricane Harvey: How to Help & Get Help After the Storm
You don't need us to tell you Hurricane Harvey has devastated Houston. The Bayou City has quickly become just that—a submerged metropolis where people have been pushed from their homes, from hospitals, and from entire communities. While this historic storm has wrecked our home, good Samaritans have emerged from all corners of the Greater Houston area to help those in need.
Here are some ways anyone can help families and individuals affected by the storm, as well as ways for locals to search for help. Send us a note at email@example.com if you have any resources we do not have listed, and we can add them here. Stay safe, Houston. Together, we will pull through. #HoustonStrong
How to help: Monetary Donations
Make monetary donations to the following organizations:
- Mayor Sylvester Turner's Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
- JJ Watt's Houston Flood Relief Fund
- GoFundMe for Hurricane Harvey victims
- The United Way of Greater Houston
- The Salvation Army Hurricane Harvey Fund
- The Samaritan's Purse Hurricane Relief Fund
- The Texas Diaper Bank to help provide baby diapers for refugees
- You can also offer your home or spaces for free for refugees (or look for a place for your family) on Airbnb.com.
How to help: Goods Donations
The George R Brown Convention Center, Toyota Center, NRG Center and BBVA Compass Stadium (the preferred drop off site) are taking all kinds of donations, from kids clothes, baby formula, and diapers, blankets, pillows, socks, adult clothes, and toiletries. They ask that you separate items in bags and mark them clearly, such as "socks, small women shirts, XL male pants, etc." Some of the items requested for donation include:
- Non-perishable food
- Bottled water
- Baby formula and diapers
- Comfort kits -- (soap, shampoo, toothpaste)
- Pillows and blankets
- Hand sanitizer
- L/XL clothing
Also, check with your local churches or the list of local shelters from ABC 13 and Click2Houston. Call before purchasing items or before showing up; each shelter's needs change throughout the day, and while they may have no more capacity for larger donations, they may need items like toys for children (to keep them occupied), hygiene items for women, etc.
It may not be the first thing that you think about when gathering donations, but people need clean underwear, too. Undies for Everyone accepts donations and distributes to those in need.
How to help: Volunteers needed
Volunteer with the Red Cross at the George R Brown Convention Center, NRG Center and Toyota Center, but first go here to register.
Getting Help: Local Houston Shelters
If you have lost your home and are looking for a nearby shelter, ABC 13 and Click2Houston have a very extensive list of shelters and it is being updated daily, including whether they also accept fur babies (pets).
The four major shelters are:
- The George R Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas, Houston, TX 77010
- Toyota Center, 1510 Polk St, Houston, TX 77002
- NRG Center, 1 NRG Park, Houston, TX 77054
- Lakewood Church, 3700 Southwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77027
If you have been directly affected by Hurricane Harvey, call 2-1-1 or visit 211.org for information on emergency shelters, food, and water. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints along with numerous others have a hotline available to submit work orders for specific need requests related to the damages and for cleanup efforts. These services include removing carpet, cutting down tree limbs, etc and are free of charge. By calling the hotline number (800-451-1954 or 844-965-1386), a volunteer will take down your information and then try to send a volunteer crew out to help.
Getting Help: Emergency contacts
To report a missing child, call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-866-908-9570. For those looking for refuge, Texas State Park camping is free to hurricane evacuees.
Coast Guard: Urban Search and Rescue
Local police, firefighters, ambulance
911 or 713-884-3131
City of Houston (Emergencies)
311 or 713-837-0311
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
On the county's website, there are resources for reporting flooding, requesting relief, following the latest news and orders from law enforcement, and checking the status of roads and schools.
Harris County Office of Emergency Management
Houston American Red Cross
Houston Midwives for Pregnant Mamas
These women are on-call to help any pregnant woman who is in labor and stranded.
Getting Help: School info
The Houston Chronicle has an extensive and updated list of Houston-area district closures.
Photo courtesy of Cici Loo Photography