5 ways you can help victims of Hurricane Harvey

It’s a deadly nightmare that’s lasted since Friday night. Two people have already died in Texas since Hurricane Harvey hit, and more than 1,000 people have been rescued. As if that wasn’t enough for the fourth-largest city in the U.S. to manage, Houston is now experiencing historic flooding.

“[Y]ou’ve just got this stream of moisture firehosing into the Houston region,” J. Marshall Shepherd, director of the atmospheric sciences program at the University of Georgia, told the New York Times. “This could go down as the worst flood disaster in U.S. history.”

Whether you’re seeing the devastation firsthand or watching on TV from across the country, it’s natural to want to help. However, Volunteer Houston reminds you not put yourself in danger while you’re helping others. That means don’t head down to Texas on your own. It’s best to either join an existing group that is already up-to-date on how to operate safely in the area, or to donate resources from afar.

Consider these options to help victims of Hurricane Harvey:

1. Help The Red Cross

The American Red Cross is a vital source of relief after a natural disaster like this. They’re sending volunteers to Texas, where they’re providing shelter, giving out meals and preparing the blood supply. You can join the Red Cross by volunteering in person or by donating to the relief efforts.

To give a monetary gift, head to the American Red Cross website or text HARVEY to 90999 to instantly donate $10.

If you are able to go in person, the Red Cross is training volunteers all over the country before they deploy to Houston. Apply to become a volunteer online.

It’s always a good time to give blood, too, no matter where you live.

harvey photo
Getty Images | Joe Raedle

2. Sign Up With Volunteer Houston’s VIRTUAL Volunteer Reception Center

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is sending people to this site to sign up and see what needs they can currently help fulfill.

3. Host Evacuees Who Need Somewhere To Stay

If you live near Houston, consider posting your place on Airbnb. You won’t make any money, but you will make a big difference.

“During and directly after a disaster, temporary housing for those who are displaced and for relief workers can be hard to find. Airbnb activates its community to support local and national efforts in addressing this need,” according to the company’s website.

4. Make Sure No Baby Goes Without a Diaper

The Texas Diaper Bank is helping local families affected by the flooding. According to WOAI, donations will help the organization create disaster relief kits that include the basics, such as diapers, for those in need.

5. Help The Pets

Several animal welfare organizations are on the ground in Houston, because it’s not only people who are in need of temporary housing due to Hurricane Harvey. If you’re local, you can foster pets with Austin Pets Alive!, the SPCA or the Animal Defense League of Texas, or donate to the organizations to further their efforts.

harvey dog photo
Getty Images | Scott Olson