Giving Back Sunday: Hurricane Harvey Relief

Lifestyle
Photo by David J. Phillip

Texas Governor Greg Abbott stated Hurricane Harvey is, “one of the largest disasters America has ever faced.” Earlier this week, FEMA Administrator Brock Long estimated that over 30,000 people will need shelter, and some 450,000 may qualify for federal flood victim assistance. It is hard in times like this to know the best way to help. Experts agree right now the best donation is a monetary one; not only does this ensure they have the most appropriate supplies, it also reduces labor for sorting and distribution. Which organizations give help where it’s needed most? How do you know your donations go to those affected by Hurricane Harvey? Below are trusted organizations that focus on the areas in Texas hit by Hurricane Harvey:

Greater Houston Community Foundation

After receiving an overwhelming number of inquiries from citizens and companies who want to help, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that will accept tax deductible flood relief donations for victims that have been affected by the recent floods. This fund is housed at the Greater Houston Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity. Click here to donate.

GlobalGiving’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund

GlobalGiving is largest global crowdfunding community. They help donors make safe and easy US tax-deductible donations to vetted, locally-driven organizations around the world. Donations are tax-deductible in the US; UK taxpayers can give in GBP and claim an extra 25% if Gift Aid eligible. All donations to the GlobalGiving Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund will support recovery and relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey. Initially, the fund will help first responders meet survivors’ immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter. Once initial relief work is complete, this fund will transition to support longer-term recovery efforts run by local, vetted organizations in the Gulf Coast. Click here to donate.

Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies

Portlight Strategies, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization, founded in 1997 to facilitate a variety of projects involving people with disabilities, including post-disaster relief work. Portlight Strategies and the Partnership are providing technical assistance and guidance to prevent disaster survivors from being turned away from shelters, denied sign language interpreters, denied their civil rights, inappropriate institutionalization and experiencing many of the same issues as in past disasters. Click to learn more about this unique organization and to donate.

Photo by Thomas B. Shea

The Coalition for the Homeless

The Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide leadership in the development, advocacy, and coordination of community strategies to prevent and end homelessness. The Coalition is currently exploring disaster funding that can be used specifically for homeless and displaced formerly homeless individuals to get them back into housing. Since the Coalition is not a direct service provider, they will not be able to accept in-kind donations. Monetary donations made to the Coalition from August 26 – September 8, 2017 will be used to help formerly homeless individuals get back into housing. Click here to donate.

Texas Diaper Bank

Every year, the Texas Diaper Bank, a 501 C3 non-profit organization, helps change the lives of 15,600 babies, seniors, and the disabled. They distribute over 1.1 million diapers every year through the generosity of donors. The organization’s mission to address the diaper gap and its impact on individuals in crisis has led the Texas Diaper Bank to provide a continuum of basic needs services combined with educational opportunities that strengthen a family’s self-reliance. Click here to learn more and donate.  The Texas Diaper Bank also has a wish list on Amazon if you would instead like to purchase specific items; you can visit their wish list at this link.

Support the Girls

I’ve featured this charity before; while the organization was started to provide bras and menstrual hygiene products to women in homeless shelters, Support the Girls is also helping those affected by Hurricane Harvey. They have already sent thousands of bras and feminine products to Texas and the organization’s Dallas/Fort Worth Affiliate Director has delivered them to three temporary shelters in Dallas supporting evacuees. To learn more about this organization and donate items or money, click here.

Photo by Scott Olson

BakerRipley

BakerRipley is a nonprofit that provides a wide range of community-based programs that benefit youth, families and seniors in Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast. BakerRipley has an important role in disasters. After the flood waters from Harvey recede, they are responsible for assistance with long term recovery. Working in collaboration with other agencies, BakerRipley picks up after the initial emergency responders and works on helping people restart their lives. Click here to learn more about their long-term disaster relief and to donate.

SPCA of Texas

The SPCA of Texas is putting every available resource behind assisting pets and people who have evacuated the Gulf Coast to the North Texas area. They’re deploying staff, volunteers, and supplies to support evacuees housed at the mega shelter in Dallas, working with city and county disaster officials to care for the pets of evacuees. They SPCA of Texas already took in 123 un-owned cats from a Corpus Christi shelter in advance of the storm. People can help the hundreds to thousands of evacuees’ pets coming to North Texas by donating to the SPCA of Texas or by giving in-kind supplies though their Amazon.com wish list. They are also in need of foster volunteers; to learn more and sign up to foster click here.

Local Food Banks

To help feed people in the region affected by Hurricane Harvey, a great choice is to donate to a local food bank, such as the Corpus Christi Food Bank, Houston Food Bank, and Galveston County Food Bank. All three are non-profits and your donation is tax deductible.

Photo by Marie D. De Jesús

Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth

If you are in the Fort Worth, Texas area, your local Goodwill stores are serving as donation sites for relief items. Items specifically mentioned at needed include baby diapers and formula; socks and underwear for men, women and children in new packaging; blankets and towels; and plus-size clothing. Goodwill Fort Worth is also providing 700 backpacks filled with new socks and toiletries to evacuees at the City of Fort Worth routing center at Wilkerson-Greines Athletic Center. Click here to find a donation center in your area.

I saw on the news all week that there is a need for plus size women’s clothing for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.  I know some bloggers are putting together clothing drives in their area, but if you know of an organization in your area or that is taking mail-in plus size clothing donations, share in the comments below. Monetary donations are the best, but when it comes to adult clothing, especially in extended sizes, that is often unlooked in an emergency and oh so needed.

Before donating to a new to you charity, check them out on Charity Navigator to see their rating.  The IRS also has a tool that lets you search for charities that are eligible for tax-deductible donations.  A percentage of August and September profits from Wardrobe Oxygen have been and will be donated to above organizations. This post was written prior to the posting day, do let me know if any information is dated or inaccurate and I will update.  If you know of any other great charities providing targeted assistance for Hurricane Harvey, do share them in the comments below.