Readers who have been with me for a while know that I generally refrain from providing commentary on active incidents. There is already enough chatter out there, with a variety of experts (real and otherwise) providing their opinions. As with any ongoing incident, there is plenty of information and assumptions, right and wrong. This disaster is already generating a lot of discussion on the decision by Houston and other jurisdictions to not issue evacuation orders. Once the flood waters recede and life safety matters are addressed, perhaps I’ll jump into that discussion. For now, let’s stay focused on the lives that are at risk.
Several people have asked me how they can support the Hurricane Harvey response and relief efforts. There are many reputable charities out there providing great assistance. A few tips…
- Most of these organizations want and need money, not things, so unless they are asking for donations of certain goods or commodities, don’t send them things. The management of unwanted donated goods is an absolute nightmare and a distraction when all resources need to be focused on the disaster at hand.
- Find a charity/organization that aligns with your own interests and beliefs. If you are most concerned about animal welfare, the ASPCA is a great organization doing incredible work during this and other disasters. The American Red Cross is a long-standing go-to humanitarian aid organization. There are also a variety of faith-based organizations, such as the Salvation Army, Adventist Community Services, Catholic Charities, Islamic Relief, and others which are dedicated to supporting communities in need.
- If you are sending a check (you can even drop off a check at your local offices of any of these organizations), be sure to write ‘Hurricane Harvey’ in the memo of the check. That should direct those funds to this disaster effort.
- Keep records and request a receipt (if they don’t provide one) for tax purposes.
- For those of you who want a specific recommendation, I suggest Team Rubicon. Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams that provide direct life-safety response efforts as well as short-term recovery work, such as mucking out people’s homes. They are an outstanding organization that not only provides disaster assistance, but also directly supports our veterans.
These organizations absolutely need your support. The costs of deploying personnel, even volunteers, are high. Every dollar makes a difference.