Hurricane Harvey: Who is helping? How can you help?

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I had a different blog planned for today, but nature didn’t really care about that. With the chaos of Hurricane Harvey looming over so many people’s lives, let’s take a look at what people are doing to help, and look into ways we, as individuals, can also assist.

What are companies doing for those affected by Hurricane Harvey?

I always love to see how businesses step up aid in disaster relief – from opening business doors, to restaurants donating food, to larger companies donating funds. There are so many businesses that lend a hand in the way that they can.

Clean water? Yes, please!

Beer might not be the first thing you think of when you imagine what people in Texas might need. Budweiser agrees. Twice a year, the Anheuser-Busch halts beer production at one of their breweries and switches to canning clean water, for exactly this type of situation. Clean water is essential during disasters, especially during floods. As quoted on their website, “Anheuser-Busch is delivering three truckloads – over 155,000 cans – of emergency drinking water to help communities in the Gulf Coast area in response to Hurricane Harvey.” While I’m not a Budweiser gal, I might pick up a 6-pack after hearing this!

Places to stay and keep warm

When you think of large shelters during disasters, you probably don’t think of comfortable matresses and plush couches to lie on. One furniture store is changing that. Gallery Furniture owner Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale has stepped up to the plate and opened two Houston stores to allow people to keep warm, dry, and safe during this disaster. Not only did Mattress Mack invite people into his stores, he’s having a driver go out to rescue stranded people to bring to safety.

In an interview with NPR, McIngvale stated, “All of us in Texas are struggling right now. But it will help us to be more resilient, strong human beings who can help out the community.”

Pets

My dogs are a part of our family, and they are two of my best friends. The idea of not being able to rescue them in a disaster absolutely breaks my heart. Unfortunately, it’s a reality for many Texas victims right now. Right now, the best thing you can do to help stranded pets, or animals separated from their families, is to donate money to the Houston shelters.

After Hurricane Katrina, residents of New Orleans have some advice: Don’t donate things right now, because shelters aren’t sure what they’ll need from hour to hour. Instead, donating money is the best option. RedRover is a great option for donating – they’ve rescued many animals over the last several. It also has great resources for people searching for their pets.

Funds and Goods

Among the giants donating funds to Harvey victims are Pepsi, Walmart, and Amazon. To check out the list of big companies donating big bucks to help these people, check it out here.

If you’re looking to donate funds, United Way Relief Fund is a great place to start. If you’re near the Houston area, they can also point you in the right direction for volunteer work.

However, if you’re looking to donate goods, there are many options. (For instance, there are many in the portland-metro area alone, so checking out your local paper will point you in the right direction.)

Food is at the top of the list of things needed right now – with so many people displaced, food banks are working hard to keep people fed. While most would prefer money so they can purchase food directly, they will also accept food. NPR has put together a list of food banks that are likely to be most affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Community rises above

It amazes me how many people come together when a disaster strikes. Community leaders, businesses, and individuals reach together and help in the way they can, whether it be by sharing information, donating funds or good, or donating time.

It’s good to remember that while the immediate effects of Hurricane Harvey will dissipate over the next several weeks, many victims will continue to put their lives back together for years. Although the media may not continue to focus on Houston several months from now, blood banks, food banks, and pet shelters will continue to require volunteers, goods, and funds well into next year. Destroyed homes will take months to be re-built, and home owners don’t always have flood insurance. If you’re at a place where you can not financially or physically donate now, consider making a donation of time, goods, or money later on down the road. It took years for New Orleans to recover from Katrina; any assistance you can offer now or later will be incredibly helpful.

The C3 Team wants to let the victims of Hurricane Harvey know that our thoughts are with them at this time. We can’t imagine what individuals are going through right now, and our hearts go out to each person affected by the hurricane.

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