Bayou City

10 Simple Ways to Help Those in Need After Harvey

Volunteers assist people displaced by Hurricane Harvey at the George R. Brown Convention Center earlier this week.
Volunteers assist people displaced by Hurricane Harvey at the George R. Brown Convention Center earlier this week. Photo by Doogie Roux
The rains have ended and the sun is finally shining on Houston, finally revealing the long, difficult road to recovery all Houstonians face. For those that are able and so inclined, there are so many opportunities to help, from not only the old national stalwarts like the Red Cross, Salvation Army and United Way, but local organizations like the Houston Food Bank, The Montrose Center and the Houston Humane Society. Keep reading for ten ways to help (plus a few more), both today and in the coming weeks.

Sketch City’s Interactive Shelter Map
The “technology advocates and civic hackers” of Sketch City have once again put their computer skills to use for the greater good by building a crowdsourced, interactive map of shelters and organizations providing lodging and aid to Harvey evacuees. This map builds upon their previous map, which locates shelters for people in need, by identifying not only the locations of places to turn, but what kind of supply and volunteer needs each of those places have. It’s updated regularly by a team of volunteers, so for the most up-to-date listing of ways to directly help, be sure to check it out.

Houston Food Bank
The Houston Food Bank has and will continue to be a much needed resource for many people as recovery from Harvey gets underway. You can make a financial donation, volunteers can now sign up for shifts at the Food Bank, or you can drop off food and supplies through Saturday, September 9 (8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday) at 535 Portwall. Visit their website for guidelines on what they need, but expect canned, ready-to-eat foods with pull tops, proteins in pouches, snacks, toiletries, paper goods, diapers and cleaning supplies. The Southeast Texas Food Bank, Galveston County Food Bank and Food Bank of Corpus Christi also need your help.

Circle of Health International
Harvey may have brought Houston to a standstill, but it didn’t stop the stork, and Austin-based Circle of Health International (COHI) sends volunteer field teams of trained professionals to assist expectant parents, women and families with newborns and children with medial conditions, as well as provide necessary supplies and financial support. Donations may go to purchasing formula for babies or emergency transport to nearby hospitals, or to the cash grants COHI is currently providing to cover the cost of food, transportation, lodging, clothing and healthcare for low income evacuees. The San Antonio-based Texas Diaper Bank is another more-than-worthy organization with a focus on parents with young children, so check out their Facebook page, which has a help FAQ, to see how you can help.

Hurricane Harvey Children’s Relief Fund
Save the Children works to provide shelters with the equipment, services and materials they need to keep children safe, which includes donating family-friendly supplies, setting up places for kids to play and learn, bringing trained staff to help children cope with such a traumatic experience and planning for the long-term, like restoring early education programs in the community. Whatever you can donate helps, and will go to everything from providing kids with art supplies to getting a crib for a child living in a shelter. (Houston’s own Art Mix is also hosting a crayon drive for kids, collecting not only crayons, but paper, books, puzzles, board games and non-perishable food through this Friday, September 1.)

Covenant House
Covenant House is a privately funded agency that offers help, in the form of 24/7 crisis care, for homeless kids and teenagers. Recently, they were housing 79 homeless youths – and they will keep taking in as many kids and teens as they can – and in desperate need of support. At this time, they are not accepting material donations, but would greatly appreciate monetary donations.

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Natalie de la Garza is a contributing writer who adores all things pop culture and longs to know everything there is to know about the Houston arts and culture scene.