Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by Hurricane Harvey and it’s aftermath. It is in times of peril and adversity that we come together to help our fellow human beings. Tomorrow, Wednesday August 30, our Lake Conroe office location will be staffed by our agents from 9-5 to help those in need. Please do not attempt to leave your house or shelter until it is safe to do so. Beware that flood waters are still moving. We will be a drop off point for those wishing to make material donations for those in shelters and those in need. Please keep in mind that money is the most useful donation, there is information on where to give money below. Here is a list of items that are currently being requested at George R Brown Convention Center. In BOLD is highest priority:
- Toiletries (travel-size shampoo, conditioner & soap)
- Bottled Water
- Individually-packaged foods (not prepared)
- Pillows (not used/secondhand)
- Baby supplies (baby wipes, diapers, formula, new clothing)
- Towels (not used/secondhand)
- Blankets (not used/secondhand)
- Hand sanitizer
- Sweatsuits (not used/secondhand)
- New L/XL clothing (not used/secondhand)
- New Socks/Undergarments (not used/secondhand)
Here’s a similar list of shelters in Montgomery County and items needed.
Here are other ways to donate supplies:
- open your home or vacation property as accomodation for flood victims through AirBnB
- food banks such as the Houston Food Bank are asking for non-perishable items such as canned goods and cleaning supplies.
- shelters are in need of diapers; donate to Texas Diaper Bank as they help to supply local shelters with diaper kits
Cash is greater than supplies
According to USAID, Most charities prefer monetary donations. These are more flexible and cause less of a strain on the charity, allowing them to help more. Cash does not have need to be transported, doesn’t spoil, and is near instantaneous. Most importantly, it is the most flexible and can be spent where there is the most need.
The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund set up by Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, and administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
Check the charity
Before you donate to a charity, make sure you know where your aid is going. The Center for International Disaster Information recommends checking with a charity monitoring organization like GiveWell, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or the Better Business Bureau before donating.
Make sure your donation is secure by going through an organization’s official website or sending a check in the mail. Charity Navigator says you should never donate over the phone, email or unknown social media pages, as these are easier for scammers to target.
GoFundMe has created a page with all of its Harvey-related campaigns.
YouCaring has a fund-raising page set up by J. J. Watt of the Houston Texans with a goal of $1 million.
GlobalGiving’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund supports local organizations by helping with “immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products and shelter.”
Volunteer at shelters
The American Red Cross in Texas has asked people to volunteer. The office announced on Friday that it would be training volunteers at their shelters through a “fast=track” course. The Salvation Army also announced it would be accepting volunteers to hand out supplies and food at shelters. Check for a local group in your area that is sending volunteers.
Volunteer Houston has launched a VIRTUAL Volunteer Reception Center to aid non-profits and agencies in finding and deploying people to hard-site areas.
Once the flood waters have receded and the immediate danger has passed, we will provide further information on what we can do to help the recovery efforts. There is likely to be an enormous demand for temporary housing and assistance navigating the flood insurance and federal disaster bureaucracy. Everyone at CENTURY 21 Realty Partners will be available during recovery as we rebuild from this crisis together.