Last updated on 10.8.17 @ 11:12 AM EST
Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston region of Texas. Homes were destroyed, towns were flooded, and multiple people lost their lives because of this tragic hurricane. As Houston weathers the flooding and its residents are spread far and wide to various shelters and make-shift homes, many people are asking: how can we help?
In the face of such adversity, it is difficult to know where to begin. And unfortunately, the tragedy doesn’t stop there.
Merely days after Hurricane Harvey hit, Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Caribbean. Carrying Category 5 winds with it, Irma caused massive tragedy and destruction in the Caribbean islands, including places like Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Martin, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.
After pummeling the Caribbean, Irma made its way to the state of Florida, moving along the western coast before heading north into Alabama and Georgia.
Next was yet another storm, Hurricane Maria, which impacted many islands within the Caribbean and totally devastated the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico with a direct hit.
Now, we’re just beginning to hear the news reports of the damage brought about by the most recent storm surge, Hurricane Nate. Hurricane Nate tragically took 28 lives in Central America, causing catastrophic damage to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Honduras, among other regions. Then, Nate moved up into the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall stateside Saturday (10/7) evening and early into the next day.
Early news reports are sharing stories of flooding, property damage, and power outtages in multiple U.S. states hit by Hurricane Nate, including Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Simply put, this hurricane season continues to be one of the most devastating in recent memory.
It is hard to grapple with such terrible tragedy back-to-back-to-back, but if you want to support Houston, Puerto Rico, Florida, the Gulf Coast of the U.S., and the Caribbean and help the regions begin their journeys on a multi-year road to recovery, we’ve pulled together a brief group of 3 ideas for how you can aid the damaged cities and their residents.
3 Effective Ideas to Help Houston
- Start a Text-to-Give Campaign
- Find a Nonprofit Doing Good Work and Support Them
- Coordinate with a Local Organization to Send Supplies
Let’s begin with text-to-give.
1. Start a Text-to-Give Campaign
If you work for a nonprofit or are working with a nonprofit to help Houston after Harvey or the regions struck by Hurricane Irma, Maria, or Nate, have the organization consider running a text-to-give campaign.
Text-to-give has historically been a major help to fundraising efforts that benefit victims of natural disasters. In fact, one of the most successful and well-known campaigns of all time was the Red Cross’s text-to-give fundraising effort for Haiti following its devastating earthquake.
Text-to-give campaigns pair effectively with natural disasters like hurricanes because text-to-give is a timely and simple giving process.
In just a few clicks, a donor can read your call-to-donate, input their information, and send you the funds you need to help Houston recover from Hurricane Harvey and the Caribbean recover from Irma and Maria, and the Gulf Coast recover from Nate.
2. Find a Nonprofit Doing Good Work and Support Them
If you’re an individual and you’re looking to help the people in the affected regions, consider donating to or volunteering with an established, local nonprofit.
Houston and its surrounding region has a thriving and engaged nonprofit community. And there are many lists out there to guide you in finding the right nonprofit for your goals.
The Caribbean, too, has an established nonprofit community that serves many of the islands in the region. For more on nonprofit giving opportunities that are specific to Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, this resource will be a good place to start.
Finally, just like Houston and the Caribbean, the regions targeted by Nate also have thriving nonprofit communities that are stepping up big time to help those impacted by the storm. To learn more about how to help in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Honduras, check out this article.
So to narrow down your search, consider the category of nonprofit you’d like to assist in raising money.
In the wake of a tragedies like Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria, and Hurricane Nate, focus on nonprofits that fall into the following general categories:
- Shelters or organizations that help individuals find housing.
- Nonprofits that run blood drives.
- Organizations that provide emergency medical support.
- Teams providing food and basics (toothbrushes, deodorant, etc.).
- Animal rescues and shelters.
Essentially, you’ll want to find an organization that has services that most closely line up with what is in highest demand in the aftermath of a hurricane.
Once you’ve decided on your category and cause, for example, emergency medical support, find a nonprofit that is actively working within the region.
All nonprofits you’re looking to should have easy-to-find donation pages, and if you want to get involved further than that, they should also have volunteering forms and signup pages.
3. Coordinate with a Local Organization to Send Supplies
Between the flooding and building damage, Houston and island residents currently need and will continue to need donated essentials.
What are we talking about when we say essentials?
- Non-perishable foods
- Basic clothing — shirts, shorts, socks, underwear
- Toiletries — toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, hairbrush, deodorant
There are many organizations currently working in the impacted communites to get supplies such as the ones listed above. And once they secure the supplies, they’re packing them and handing them out to local residents in need.
If making these in-kind donations is something you’d like to pursue, look into area food banks, and start to gather the items that they’re requesting.
You might even be able to organize a collections drive in your area and ship the donations in bulk.
There you have it: 3 effective ideas to help Houston and the Caribbean.
Victims of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria, and Hurricane Nate need our help, and they are going to for a long time. So jump into the fundraising effort and keep at it.