In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25. It’s the first Category 4 hurricane to hit the U.S. since Hurricane Charley in 2004. Houston has been devastated by the storm and the ongoing flooding that resulted from receiving some 30 inches of rain in the last week.
Lots of people want to help—possibly including you—but as with any time you make donations in the aftermath of a natural disaster, you need to donate where your dollars will make the most difference and beware of charity scams that pop up in the wake of disasters.
Here are some Houston-based organizations that need your financial support in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Organizations that are meeting basic needs like food, fresh water, and shelter should be your priorities.
- Houston Food Bank
- Food Bank of Corpus Christi
- Galveston County Food Bank
- Red Cross of Central and South Texas
If you want to help the animals that have been affected by Harvey, here are some shelters working to save the storm’s animal victims.
- Austin Pets Alive has transported more than 235 animals from Houston shelters to safety in Austin and is preparing for more as the roads into the area open up.
- Houston Humane Society is operating with skeleton crews as many of its employees and volunteers have been affected by the flooding, but they will need financial assistance to rebuild once the flooding abates.
- San Antonio Humane Society is assisting with pet evacuees from Hurricane Harvey.
Charity Navigator has a list of nonprofits that are working to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
You can also donate blood. There’s an urgent need for Type O positive and Type O negative blood. Check with your local Red Cross for blood drives in your area.
As always, be careful to avoid charity scams. If you get a solicitation call, don’t be shy about asking who wants your money and how much of your donation will actually go to the charity. Check charity review websites. Beware of sound-alike “agencies” that exist just to scam. In fact, your best bet is to donate to the charities directly, through their websites, rather than through solicitation calls; that way, you’ll know your money is going to the right place. Here are some tips from Charity Navigator on how to avoid scams.
Also, beware of GoFundMe and other similar solicitation sites and people claiming to be victims of the storm. It’s a sad truth that there are people who take advantage of disasters for their own benefit.
In short: donate directly to charities in Houston or other affected areas, and use your mind as well as your heart when deciding where to direct your money.