As most of you know, Houston has been home to me for the past two years. It has been home for some of the toughest parts of my life thus far, and it will always have a very special place in my heart.
It has been very difficult for the past week to see the jarring images and videos of the Hurricane Harvey damage and destruction. It has been difficult to see my home underwater. And mostly it has been difficult being this far away. I live in Washington, DC now, and just knowing that my friends and former students were going through this hurt my heart. Although I know I couldn’t be much help down there right now, I still feel the pang to leave and go help.
It is very easy to feel helpless in situations like this, and I know a lot of people are looking for ways they can help. So I have compiled a list of resources for those of you who are looking for ways to help or are feeling helpless in this situation.
Remember that it is in times of tragedy that we must stay strong and work together. Texans are strong by nature, and Houstonians are among the strongest of them in my opinion. We will rebuild. We will recover. We will be reborn.
- Donate money : I know this feels like kind of a cop out for some people (me included), but money is needed to help fund the relief efforts in Houston and the surrounding areas. Money is needed to provide shelter, for rescue missions, for repair, for food, and to provide safe conditions. Make sure that if you are donating money that it is to a reputable aid campaign. Sadly, there are a lot of scams going on right now. Below I will have a list with links to places that could use monetary donations. I also strongly encourage you to donate money to The Montrose Center in Houston, it is their LGBTQ+ center. Many of you might not know this, but LGBTQ+ centers offer shelter and support to not only LGBTQ+ citizens during times of tragedy, but also to marginalized communities, homeless people, abandoned children, and anyone in need. Homeless youth do not qualify for federally funded aid, so they are often left with no place to go in this situation. Remember that a little goes a long way, you don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars to make an impact. Give what you can.
- Donate blood: Anytime there is a tragedy of this magnitude, there are injuries and people in need of life saving blood transfusions. A simple Google search will bring up results of where you can donate blood that will go to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. The American Red Cross website is a great place to start!
- Donate supplies: There are supply drives popping up everywhere, all over the country. Many churches, community centers, and schools are doing drives. An easy way to find where you can donate items is to google “supplies donations for Hurricane Harvey in (your city).” Don’t forget about our furry friends either! Donations for pets are also extremely necessary right now. Here’s a link to some ways you can help animals through the Humane Society.
- Donate time: Volunteering is very important, but if you live far away it isn’t always an easy way to help out. If you live in the Houston area or even in Texas, there are many ways to volunteer in the immediate area. Those of you who are in the area, make sure it is completely safe for you to do so before traveling to the impacted area. So how can you donate your time if you don’t live in Texas? Many communities are having drives, 5K runs, charitable auctions, restaurant nights, etc. to raise money, collect supplies, and boost the morale of those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Local newspapers, news stations, social media, and search engines are a good way to find what is going on in your area.
Good places to donate money:
Bullzerk (Texas Cares t-shirt profits go directly to The American Red Cross, shirts are $23)
It is more important now to help each other than ever before. Please take some time to think about those in the wake of tragedy, even if it doesn’t directly impact you. Someone somewhere needs your help. Do what you can even if it is just posting articles or donation websites or heartfelt thoughts on social media. It will take years to rebuild and millions of dollars, but we will get there if we help each other.
Big love to all my readers out there.