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How can you best help hurricane victims

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As recovery efforts continue for those affected by Hurricane Harvey, and other parts of the country brace for Hurricane Irma, there has been an outpouring of help from the people in our area. 

There are a number of ways to assist those in Texas, Louisiana, and other areas impacted by the severe weather.

Ready Wisconsin shared some ways to make the most of your contributions, whether its volunteering or donating to relief efforts. 


  • Volunteering:  Spontaneous or unaffiliated volunteers who self-deploy may create an additional burden on impacted communities where resources for food and shelter are scarce. The State of Texas is asking potential volunteers to register with a voluntary or charitable organization of their choice, many of which are already in Texas supporting survivors on the ground. To register as an affiliated volunteer with a voluntary or charitable organization, please visit the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) for a list of partners active in disaster. You may also register your interest to volunteer. Partner organizations may reach out to you for your help. Florida officials also ask that you do not self-deploy to their state.
  • Please do not donate unsolicited goods: The overwhelming generosity of the public is greatly appreciated. However, the influx of donated items exceeds the needs of the impacted communities at this time. Therefore, the State of Texas is asking that you please DO NOT donate unsolicited goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, medicine, or perishable foodstuffs at this time. These unsolicited donations are forcing supporting agencies to redirect staff and volunteers away from providing direct services to survivors in order to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
  • Cash donations to trusted organizations:  The most effective way to support disaster survivors in their recovery is to donate to a trusted, reputable, voluntary or charitable organization. Cash donations offer these organizations the most flexibility to address urgently developing needs. With cash in hand, these organizations can obtain needed resources nearer to the disaster location. This inflow of cash also pumps money back into the local economy and helps local businesses recover faster. 
  • Be patient: Recovery lasts a long time. There will be volunteer needs for many months, often years, after the disaster - especially when the community enters the long-term recovery period.

Here's more info on where you can direct your help:

American Red Cross: INFO

Salvation Army/Harvey: INFO

The Houston Food Bank is a member of the nation’s largest non-governmental hunger relief organization, “Feeding America.” Call 832-269-9390 or visit HoustonFoodBank.org.

Feeding Texas is a statewide nonprofit organization that helps coordinate major relief efforts, such as the Harvey response. Call 512-527-3613 or visit FeedingTexas.org.

The Houston Coalition for the Homeless is a 35-year-old nonprofit organization that serves as the lead agency for community response to homelessness in the Houston area. Call 713-739-8038 or visit HomelessHouston.org.

The Houston SPCA is the city’s first and largest animal protection organization. It has suspended normal operations to focus on disaster response. Call 713-869-7722 or visit HoustonSPCA.org.

Direct Relief USA is a humanitarian aid nonprofit organization that operates the largest charitable medicine program in the country. Call 800-676-1638 or visit DirectRelief.org.

The Texas Diaper Bank typically serves about 16,000 families each hear, distributing more than 1.1 million diapers. Call 210-731-8118 or visit TexasDiaperBank.org.

Catholic Charities USA is a social services organization and the official domestic relief agency of the U.S. Catholic Church. Services are provided without consideration of religious affiliation. Text CCUSADISASTER to 71777 to make a donation or visit CatholicCharitiesUSA.org.

The United Way has established a Flood Relief Fund to assist various agencies responding to Harvey. Text UWFLOOD to 41444 to make a donation or visit UnitedWayHouston.org.

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