The destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey is something that nobody could have predicted. Simulations told us the projected path of of the storm along with its calculated rainfall and wind speeds, but it was impossible to estimate the damage that would be done to human lives. Normalcy has fallen to the wayside in this time of destruction and heartbreak. For some, loved ones were lost in the worst of the storm. For others, homes and the memories they housed were flooded beyond repair. While millions of people in the greater Houston area face displacement, millions of other Americans have united their resources to generate an unparalleled response. There are countless organizations and individuals involved in Harvey relief, but the few mentioned here have Houston roots or direct impacts on locals. These 6 Houston nonprofits have boots on the ground in the middle of chaos and loss. Supporting these organizations means directly empowering Harvey relief for people and pets in need.
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This nonprofit organization operates to empower a variety of animal nonprofits in the greater Houston area. The funds they raise go directly to organizations who spend every day “in the trenches” performing animal rescue, spay and neuter, transport, fostering, and more. Houston PetSet has raised over $1 million to date which has enabled numerous other animal nonprofits to reduce the astounding 100,000 pets that face euthanization in Houston every year. Their current responses to Harvey exceeds their core competency of fundraising. You can donate supplies to Houston PetSet at one of their multiple collection sites, donate to their relief fund, or volunteer your time. Visit their site to join this comprehensive animal support effort.
This organization is driven by a mission, “To inspire and enable all youth, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.” Their influence on children in Houston is aimed at helping each one realize a future with good character, citizenship, and a healthy lifestyle. A PayPal relief fund on their site is open for donations that will pay for repairs to club facilities and club operations. The club knows that their work will play a vital role in rebuilding the lives of members who face devastation from the storm.
Undies for Everyone has made substantial impacts in both Dallas and Houston, Texas. They have donated over 200,000 pairs of underwear to underprivileged students by direct gifts to children in need and through nurses at low-income schools who help children after they’ve had an accident. While this organization normally focuses their efforts on children, they have shifted gears to make a greater impact on Harvey refugees. With help from hundreds of volunteers and thousands of donors, Undies for Everyone has doled out packages of new underwear to countless Houstonians at shelters across the city. See their Facebook page for updates on volunteer opportunities and a link to donate directly. New, packaged underwear are pouring into their donation sites from across the world but no number of undies is too many. Many of us take this simple garment for granted but a clean pair of underwear could help a refugee regain comfort and dignity in a time of discomfort and humility.
In 2015, the food bank parent “Feeding America” named their Houston location the Food Bank of the Year. Every dollar donated to this location equates to three meals for a person in need. Today, the food bank is prioritizing monetary donations. While feeding the hungry of Houston is something they have excelled in, responding to a disaster of this scale is uncharted territory. In the 2016-2017 fiscal year alone, the food bank served over 83 million meals to Houstonians. You can learn about ways to get involved on their website and activate your response by registering to volunteer, donating to the relief fund, and learning about their most desired items. The Houston Food Bank will direct all donations to Harvey relief until the needs of those affected by the storm are met.
Most people are healthy and fortunate enough to donate blood to those less fortunate. It’s a sort of donation that some people are understandably not comfortable with or eligible for but it has the potential to greatly impact lives, especially in times of crisis. With all Houston-area donation centers down, donations from across the country are being welcomed and encouraged. The homepage on their website has information on how to locate donation centers near you. You can also find information on how to host a blood drive and amplify your community’s collective effort. Blood centers in Houston will need outside assistance for months as they work to return to normal operating procedures.
Based in the First, Second, and Fifth Wards of Houston, the organization offers intervention for economically at-risk children ages two through six. This intervention involves education, transportation, nutrition, and both social and emotional support for children at their most impressionable stage of life. Their centers sustained only minor damage but some staff and families served by Small Steps Nurturing Center face total destruction of their own homes. They’ve created an online fund that will directly benefit the staff and families associated with these centers. All donations will enable the centers to continually serve children in need of their assistance and the numerous programs they offer.
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