How to Help Our Texas Neighbors
Hurricane Harvey made landfall Friday evening as a category 4 storm with winds at 130 miles per hour. The city of Rockport, Texas suffered immensely from a direct hit and has been structurally devastated. But the peril didn't end when the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm. The danger now is what the National Weather Service is calling "unprecedented" flooding. The greater Houston area has suffered from the sudden deluge of unforgiving rain. Sunday saw thousands wake up to find their homes were rapidly filling with water. The water rose faster than emergency services could rescue people. By late Sunday, officials reported over 55,000 calls to 911 for help.
Houston Mayor, Sylvester Turner, stated in a press conference late Sunday afternoon that the greater Houston area is not out of the woods yet. The rain has not relented and more dangerous weather may be on the way. Conditions could worsen before they get better. But you can help now.
There are several organizations that are already in place or on their way to aid the people of Houston and the other effected areas. At this stage, the best thing you can do is make monetary donations to these organizations as they will use your dollars to directly start helping those in need immediately.
The American Red Cross deployed volunteers immediately and by Saturday evening they were caring for 1,800 people in one of their 34 shelters in Texas. There are now hundreds of volunteers from around the company on the ground in the hardest hit areas to provide shelter, comfort and ready-to-eat meals for displaced families. Learn more about their efforts here.
The Salvation Army mobilized Saturday morning and their 34 mobile kitchens are on the road in the Lone star state delivering food and bottled water to shelters, first responders and to those who've reached out for help. They served 1,200 meals, 300 snacks, and 45 cases of water were distributed in Corpus Christi alone on Saturday. Salvation Army volunteers also were on hand to provide shoes, clothing and food to flood victims on Sunday.
Team Rubicon is a phenomenal organization that utilizes the skills of veterans and first responders to "rapidly deploy emergency response teams." The team is not exclusively comprised of veterans but part of the mission for Team Rubicon is that it gives back that sense of duty to veterans who might miss the service of active duty. These brave men and women understand the conditions of natural disaster and they are always one of the first groups on the scene to help. They are currently raising funds specifically for response to Hurricane Harvey now.
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Samaritan's Purse currently has teams on the ground in Texas and as soon as the flood waters receded, they will enter the most devastated areas to provide counseling for hurting families and assistance in clean up to homeowners. They are looking for donations and volunteers.
In the first hours of a natural disaster or major crisis, Americares responds with disaster relief specifically tailored to each situation. Their focus is on health and reducing risk for disease and health related issues that arise in natural disasters. They are already working with local health centers and free clinics to provide water, medications and basic supplies. A donation of just $10 can allow Americares to provide $200 worth of aid.