Looking for ways to help the Hurricane Harvey victims in Houston, Texas but wary of news accounts that some of the large charities funnel donations to pay salaries,travel, and overhead expenses, and so you don’t know who to give to?
Join the Club.
I don’t want to malign any organization that actually does a lot of good (read about one here) but there is a taint in the giving world. People who want to donate and help out victims also must feel confident that their funds are actually helping people, directly.
It is such a concern that organizations are releasing statements about their commitment to use donations properly. The Texas Organizing Project Education Fund posted a notice clarifying that its Harvey Community Relief Fund would be used for victims of the storm: “We want to be clear on a key point about the Harvey Community Relief Fund, which is being housed within the Texas Organizing Project Education Fund: We have an ironclad commitment that 100 percent of the money raised into this fund will be spent directly on ensuring low income and people of color are not forgotten in the relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts. Not a dime will be spent on any other purpose.”
The organization recognized and learned from how past storm relief aid was mishandled
“One year after Hurricane Ike, low-income neighborhoods remained dotted with blue tarps and damaged homes without hope for assistance to rebuild,” the organization’s press release reads. “The money was on its way elsewhere. After the Tax Day Flood of 2016, people in Houston’s Greenspoint neighborhood were being forced by their landlords to pay rent on apartments that were uninhabitable.”
Before hitting that Donate Button, consider first checking out websites like Charity Navigator, Charity Watch and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving website that rate charities before giving.
I did some leg work and assembled a list of organizations and groups that are raising funds for on-the-ground help and support to consider giving to:
1. The Food Bank of Corpus Christi can provide 7 meals to displaced Harvey victims for just $1.
2. The Texas State Bar is organizing attorney from the state and all over the country that can help victims apply for FEMA aid, replacing lost documents, or fielding insurance claims questions, landlord-tenant issues, home repair contracts, etc. Sign up HERE! (I did because although I’m not a practicing attorney, I think I am a whiz at landlord and tenant law.)
3. The Texas Organizing Project Education Fund is collecting donations for its Harvey Community Relief Fund that will go where needed most though the organization is still ascertaining how to best channel donations, but it could go to personal hygiene items to legal aid and advocacy.
4. Kimberly Reed of NextGen Storm Leads in Denver Colorado hosting a supplies drive on September 8 and is trying to get contractors from across the US to volunteer to come help people rebuild. Find her on her Facebook Page HERE. She is not collecting CASH.
5. Direct Relief is top rated and is providing on-the-ground assistance as well. The organization has committed $200,000 to help storm victims and made $100 million in medical supplies available. The nonprofit dispatches crates (see above photo in header) which contain critical medicines and supplies, are currently with health clinics being impacted by Hurricane Harvey
6. The Catholic Charity of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is collecting supplies to distribute to families and stock at the various parishes that are open and providing shelter, food and supplies. You can also donate cash. As a Catholic and someone familiar with the work of Catholic Charity, I can attest that most of the funds are spent where it matters.
7. Team Rubicon organizes military vets and reserve men and women and sends them to assist first responders to deploy emergency response teams.
8. The Houston Humane Society is help the four-legged victims, and provide them with the shelter and care they need while their owners recover. It has created its own Harvey Donation Fund you can contribute to.
9. Texas Diaper Bank – Texas Diaper Bank is putting together disaster relief kits for families with young children. You can donate here.
10. Americares says that for every $10 donated, it can provide $200 in Aid in the form of water distribution, aid and mobilizing medical outreach with its local partners.
11.Southwest Airlines Southwest is collecting Rapid Rewards points to donate to partner organizations to get relief workers, assistance to first responders and search and rescue teams that are directly involved with disaster relief in areas affected by Harvey. The points donations enable relief workers and volunteers to travel to areas in need. Click here to donate frequent flyer points to Harvey relief efforts.
I’m adding to this post as I come across others doing on-the-ground relief efforts:
Brene Brown is collecting underwear because who could imagine not having a change of undies during all this time!
Let's talk underwear! #realtalk #Harvey Here are three ways to give NEW (still in package) underwear. Please keep in mind that we need a variety of sizes for men, women, boys, and girls, including XXL. 1. https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/2O89ZX93OGCSU/ref=nav_wishlist_lists_12. Collect new, packaged underwear and mail it to the address below. It’s our local Hillel and they are collecting for us. This is a really great neighborhood or school project. If you’re purchasing, we recommend Hanes or Fruit of the Loom. UFE doesn’t process or give out anything but underwear!Undies for Everyone1700 Bissonnet St. Houston, TX 77005 3. Give cash and Undies for Everyone will purchase wholesale: https://secure.lglforms.com/form_engine/s/uFpr61ITEItxPeN4Lo9zpA
Posted by Brené Brown on Wednesday, August 30, 2017