Bayou City

Want to Help Harvey Victims? Here's How.

A Houston boy looks at his family Sunday as relief workers carry him to safety.
A Houston boy looks at his family Sunday as relief workers carry him to safety. Flickr/Texas Military Department
You’re safe at home, but you don’t have a boat. What can you do to help people hurt by Tropical Storm Harvey?

As Harvey pummels Texas for the fifth straight day, many people across Houston — and across the United States — are asking themselves that question. The simplest answer: Make a donation.

On Sunday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, which is accepting tax-deductible donations. While Turner didn’t say what exactly the funds would be spent on, donations are being handled by the Greater Houston Community Foundation, which typically supports grants to smaller nonprofits.

Donations can be made online here. You can also mail a check to the Greater Houston Community Foundation at 5120 Woodway Drive, Suite 6000, Houston, TX 77056.

A number of other relief funds have been set up, including the Texas Workers Relief Fund, run by AFL-CIO, and the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group Fund, run by the Coastal Bend Community Foundation near Corpus Christi. The RNRN Disaster Relief Fund, run by National Nurses United, provides money specifically for medical relief.

Speaking of medical relief, keep in mind that groups not focused explicitly on hurricane recovery also need extra help right now. These include the Houston Food Bank, the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, the Texas Diaper Bank and the Houston Humane Society.

Even celebrities and politicos are getting in on the action. J.J. Watt, defensive end for the Houston Texans, is using his foundation to help with Houston flood relief. If you’re broke but still want to help, the Houston Branch of the Democratic Socialists of America is looking for volunteers. Sign up here. Another option is the Louisiana Cajun Navy, a group of do-gooders with boats, which is coordinating rescues on its Facebook page.

Another obvious choice in any disaster is the Red Cross. The group is running a nonprofit page here. If you make a donation, the form will ask you what, specifically, you want to support. Select “people affected by Hurricane Harvey” in the drop-down menu.

If you make a Red Cross donation, keep in mind: The group still hasn’t recovered from its bungled response to the Haiti earthquake, with some locals asking people to donate elsewhere. “People are urging donations for Harvey relief efforts — just not to the Red Cross,” the Washington Post said in a headline Monday.
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Stephen Paulsen is a journalist and native Houstonian. He writes about crime, food, drugs, urban planning and extremists of all kinds. He covers local news for Houston Press and cannabis policy for Leafly.