How To Support Hurricane Harvey Victims

If you’re reading this, chances are you were barely affected by Hurricane Harvey, save for a handful of social media updates.

You’re lucky. And I sincerely hope you’ve done your part and given to those who have lost everything – their homes, their jobs for the foreseeable future, or even their loved ones.

If you haven’t – that’s okay. Keep reading.

If you have – I hope you continue reading, to give to one of these 4 outlets who are serving the most unserved areas of the relief efforts.

1. Texas Diaper Bank x Austin Diaper Bank

Did you know that diapers are rarely provided in relief kits? The Texas Diaper Bank and Austin Diaper Bank are filling that void, and putting together relief kits for delivery in the affected areas. You can donate to the Texas Diaper Bank here, or purchase needed items for the Austin Diaper Bank here.

2. Global Giving

The fundraising platform has put together a campaign to support local nonprofits and community organizations. This campaign provides immediate emergency supplies for survivors, and will also fund longer-term recovery efforts and home rebuilds. The organization has carefully vetted the local nonprofits it funds (and is a highly rated nonprofit itself), so you can be sure that your money is getting to those who need it most. Donate here.

3. Donate blood

If a financial donation isn’t in the cards for you, consider donating blood. It’s free, and it’s needed desperately. Find your local blood drive here. If you can’t donate blood but want to support those with medical needs, donate to Portlight (which provides relief for people with disabilities) or Direct Relief (which delivers prescription drugs and medical supplies in emergency situations)

4. Trusted World

The 3 shelters run by this organization needs money and supplies. You can donate here, or you can purchase socks and underwear, non-perishable food, toiletries, feminine hygiene products, and baby changing supplies and formula and drop them off at 15660 Dallas Parkway in Dallas, TX.

5. Austin Pets Alive

Many pets have been left behind during evacuation efforts, which just breaks my heart. Austin Pets Alive has rescued over 300 pets and continue to open its doors. You can donate here, or open your home to a foster pet during these efforts if you’re located close to Austin.

6. Food Banks

Whether you have food or money to spare, a food bank in one of the affected cities is an ideal place to donate. Please consider making a donation to the Central Texas Food Bank, Houston Food Bank, Galveston Food Bank, or Corpus Cristi Food Bank. Or to all four food banks, if you have the money to spare.

7. Team Rubicon

This is probably one of my favorite nonprofits, Harvey efforts aside. Team Rubicon hires veterans and deploys them to lead recovery and relief efforts for natural disasters. You can donate to their Harvey relief fund here, and track their progress here.

8. Amazon Smile

If you’re a fellow Amazon addict, consider making your purchases through Amazon Smile to support one of the local nonprofits focused on the relief efforts. For every eligible purchase you make, 0.5% of the price goes to your selected nonprofit (which can add up, depending on your Amazon habits). Search and select your charity here. I recommend supporting one of the following:

  • Texas Diaper Bank
  • Austin Diaper Bank
  • Austin Pets Alive
  • Houston Food Bank
  • Galveston Food Bank
  • Corpus Cristi Food Bank
  • Houston Coalition for the Homeless

However you donate, please consider making a recurring donation if you can. The relief efforts will take years to restore the lives of millions of Texans, and giving continuously is the most effective way to help them rebuild their lives.

I also wanted to make a note of the Red Cross, and why you don’t see it on this list. I prefer to support smaller organizations who have been working in the community well before this disaster struck. These organizations are, in my opinion, more effective in delivering relief and in greater need of funds.

Large nonprofits like the Red Cross or Salvation Army, while making it incredibly easy to donate to, also spend a LOT of money on marketing to solicit donations. With the Red Cross in particular, they have a history of waste and prioritizing optics over care (more details here).

Many of these small organizations are too busy providing relief to market themselves. I hope you consider donating to one of these over one of the bigger ones – they need it, and your donation will have a greater impact on those affected by Harvey than your donation to the Red Cross.

Please share this post with your friends and family and encourage them to help. Let’s send our love, thoughts, and funds to help our fellow citizens recover and rebuild their lives.

graphic by Hitha Palepu, image via Associated Press
  • My whole family’s in Houston and the devastation is enormous. Thanks so much for this post. It’s appreciated:).

    • hithaonthego

      It’s the least I can do. How’s your family? Any additional ways I can help? I feel so helpless here in New York, and almost guilty for enjoying the weather we have.

      • Yes, I have not been telling the folks about our weather:). It feels like nothing short of a miracle, but my family’s properties were all dry despite significant flooding in their areas. I’m hearing that financial help is the biggest way to give. They definitely weren’t prepared for this many people needing resources.

  • Lisa

    Thanks for the links on where to give! Helped a lot!

    • hithaonthego

      My pleasure! It’s the very least I can do, in addition to donating.

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  • Thank you for the links! It’s been incredibly helpful to know the correct places to go to give. My company started a matching fund yesterday since many of our museums are down there and while they’re okay right now, their staff and members need the help.

    • hithaonthego

      I’m glad the post was helpful! I just updated the post with some new nonprofits and information on why to support these over the bigger nonprofits. I hope it helps!

  • Tammy

    Thank you for sharing these links!

    A friend of mine mentioned something similar regarding the Red Cross. As you might know, parts of the San Francisco Bay Area experienced heavy flooding and one of my friend’s house was flooded. He was forced to evacuate and the Red Cross did very little to help.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/03/23/san-jose-flood-a-month-later-500-have-yet-to-return-home/

    • hithaonthego

      I don’t discredit all the good the Red Cross does, but reporting like this gives me pause when it comes to supporting them.

  • Heather H

    Actually just listened to the latest Pod Save America with Alyssa Mastromonaco speaking about who to fund, and she actually recommended the Red Cross. She said bar none they get up and running first and hence should not be overlooked.

    • hithaonthego

      Hi Heather! The Red Cross is certainly one of the first organizations to get on the ground (in any kind of disaster), but as a bigger organization, they also have bigger overhead costs than others. It’s a worthwhile cause to donate to, but I personally choose to support smaller nonprofits that don’t benefit from the press or the first-to-market opportunity that the Red Cross (or other major organizations) do. It’s just my preference, and I encourage everyone to give whatever they can to whoever they choose.

  • Mary

    I want to thank you on behalf of my fellow Houstonians for putting together this amazing list of resources, Hitha. I’ve lived in Louisiana for several years, but I grew up in southwest Houston and the vast majority of my family still lives there. Needless to say, it’s been an incredibly rough experience this past week, especially for those of us Texpats who had to sit by helplessly in the comforts of our un-disrupted daily lives watching our city drown and worrying about our loved ones. Unfortunately, another piece of that stress has been the back-and-forth on how large, national organizations work differently than local, grassroots movements. It’s never a good feeling to see a national organization turning away donations (even if it’s for a totally legitimate safety concern), when people you personally know are going without.

    Something that has provided incredible comfort for me (and for many others that I know) has been seeing people from across the nation like YOU that have truly thought about how they could pitch in and help my beloved city move forward. While I’m so thankful for EVERYONE that is donating or volunteering, your list clearly demonstrates a more nuanced approach. These ideas are so concrete and they consider a larger need, which are clearly a demonstration of your thoughtfulness. I am thankful to be a reader of yours and for your efforts!

    • hithaonthego

      Mary – thank you so, so much for your kind words. I believe anyone with a platform has a responsibility to use it for good, especially in a crisis like this. It was the very least I could do.
      Please let your family know that Texas is in my heart and thoughts, and that we’re here for you – now and in the years to come.

  • Liz Vincent

    Thank you for sharing the links. I like the fact that any donation I give will go to the local places and not get hung up in red tape. Hang tough!

    • hithaonthego

      Thank you Liz!