“When it’s a choice to make between things and life, sometimes you’ve just got to let the things go and hang on to life.”
This quote was taken from a recent article in The Washington Post from a 58-year-old man in Houston whose house is flooded and most likely ruined.
Almost 6 million fellow Texans live in the eight counties most affected by the storm. About one-third of the Houston area, including Beaumont, Port Arthur and Rockport, is covered in water. Tens of thousands have been devastatingly affected, many helplessly watching water rise into their homes and “hanging on to life.” There are people displaced from the critical care they were receiving in hospitals, people still awaiting rescue, homeless brothers and sisters in shelters and nursing home evacuees. There are pets needing help.
We are needed! So let’s do what we were made to do: Act.
There’s reason and meaning behind #TexasStrong. This is not a comprehensive list, but is a good selection of the many different ways you can help right now within a few miles of your doorstep.
Here are some Austin ways to help Hurricane Harvey relief:
- Donate supplies: There are many locations around Austin. Be sure to donate what is most needed (every site has an updated list):
- Austin Disaster Recovery Network is overseeing the entire evacuee process from Austin. You can make survivor welcome kits (an estimated 6,000 people are evacuating to Austin) or clean-up kits. There are four drop-off locations around our area. Just yesterday, we put together a “bin filling” party, posted it on Facebook, and between the hours of 1-4pm, filled 25 bins.
- Austin Diaper Bank and Texas Diaper Bank are in need of diapers and wipes to support hurricane survivors with small children and infants.
- The Catholic Charities of Central Texas‘ Disaster Response Team has a list of supplies needed, like school supplies (!), for displaced children.
- The Junior League of Austin, in partnership with KW Cares and The Salvation Army, is collecting and distributing needed items to go directly to affected areas.
- See assistance in action on the GoodPops Facebook page, and where you can help.
- Support businesses that are providing financial support for Hurricane Harvey victims. These Austin restaurants and bars are donating to Hurricane Harvey flood relief, in addition to Studio Mantra, Embellish Nails and Hopdoddy to name a few.
- Go to fundraisers this week:
- Pinthouse Pizza this Tuesday, September 5 from 11am – 11pm.
- Harvey Relief Benefit: Comedy Helps at the Paramount on Tuesday, September 5 at 8pm
- Over 165 musicians signed up to play for Harvey evacuees in less than 24 hours! See the list of musicians and venues. This one is particular looks fun for the whole family: Reckless Kelly Celebrity Softball Jam at Dell Diamond (Sunday, Sept. 10).
- Donate money: Your precious donation buys what is most critically needed (see below, for example, $1 provides 7 meals to survivors).
- TEXT ‘AUSTINRELIEF’ to 444999 (Austin Disaster Relief Network)
- Austin Pets Alive! At this time, they no longer have the capacity to accept in-kind donations (“due to the absolutely amazing outpouring of support from our community we have run out of room to store in-kind donations”).
- American Red Cross – Donate online here or give $10 by texting ‘Harvey’ to 90999.
- Food Bank of Corpus Christi – Donate online, $1 provides 7 meals to survivors.
- Houston Coalition for the Homeless – They are working to provide shelter for Houston’s homeless population. Donate here.
- Mobile Loaves & Fishes – Donate online here.
- Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies – Portlight provides disaster relief to people with disabilities and says they are currently receiving hundreds of requests for assistance. Donate here to help.
- Rebuild Texas: Michael & Susan Dell Foundation will match $1 for every $2 in donations for the first $36 million raised.
- Use AmazonSmile to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you.
- Contribute a few dollars at checkout while grocery shopping at HEB to support disaster relief efforts.
- Austin Disaster Relief Network
- Bring food to the volunteers at our local rescue centers (like Austin Disaster Relief Network, listed above).
- Austin Pets Alive! needs volunteers to adopt rescued pets, as they’re overwhelmed by rescued and surrendered pets from affected areas.
- If you have space to house someone displaced by the hurricane, offer that space for free on Airbnb.
- The City of Austin is looking for musicians to play at local evacuation shelters. Contact [email protected] for more information.
- The Houston Police Department is in need of boat owners to volunteer to assist with water rescues. Call (713)881-3100 if you can help.
- We Are Blood is in need of blood donors.
Our very own Mayor Adler has an amazing resource site. It’s a beautifully overwhelming, comprehensive and continually updated list of needed needs (currently chapstick and ear plugs), events and ways to get involved.
In the long-term, Houston and surrounding area residents will continue to need a tremendous amount of help to rebuild. While our help is needed now, it’s also needed in the long-term. As my best friend said, based on her experience from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, “recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t forget about us.”
Thank you to our heroes, the emergency workers and volunteers. Thank you to @HEB, @ShinerBeer, @Whataburger, @Buccees and other Texas-based businesses who are dedicating their resources to rescue efforts.
To everyone affected, we love you and will support from now until that moment you are on solid ground. And then some.