A little over a week ago, so many people were in their Houston homes wondering where Hurricane Laura would make landfall. We breathed a sigh of relief when we realized it would be to the east of us. However, our friends and family members living in East Texas and Louisiana bore the brunt of the storm and are in need of help. Several organizations are collecting funds and other types of donations to distribute.
As much as you might have the instinct to go to your closet and donate clothing or toys or other household items, it’s probably not the most helpful thing to do. Shipping costs can be quite high, and it can take a while for your stuff to reach the people who need it. In general, money donations are the most efficient way to help. Often, organizations are able to get bulk discounts on food and other necessary items. This means that your money goes further when a charity buys exactly what’s needed from their local retail partners.
The American Red Cross is probably the best known relief organization in the country. Their workers and volunteers will be on site, assisting victims of disasters. On their website, you can easily make a donation and mark it for Hurricane Laura relief.
The Red Cross also runs blood donation sites all over the country. Blood donations have been down because of the coronavirus lockdowns. However, in a situation like a hurricane, donated blood may be urgently needed. Houston real estate owners can click on the Give Blood tab to learn where they can donate blood and make an appointment to do so.
Volunteers are necessary for the Red Cross to carry out its charitable work. You can learn how to become a volunteer on the website, too.
We talked about disaster preparedness in the last post. The Red Cross has a store where you can buy emergency supplies, first aid kids, and emergency kits to keep in your home and car. Visit the American Red Cross for more information.
Another major group to donate to is the Salvation Army. They are already on the ground in southeast Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi, serving survivors from mobile kitchens and mobile food pantries. They also work with the first responders to provide both food and emotional and spiritual support. The main base of their operations is in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where they plan to stay for the long-term work of recovery. Take a look at the work they are doing to aid recovery, then decide how big a donation you are able to make.
Once you are on the Salvation Army website, click around to see how they are helping people in Houston homes as well. The pandemic has placed stress on many households, and there are many programs to provide relief. Veterans can apply for rental assistance. If you or someone you know needs help with groceries or other household necessities, you can submit a request for help. Someone from the local Salvation Army will get in touch with you.
For many people, being isolated from friends and family has been the worst part of the pandemic lockdowns. Anyone who is experiencing loneliness can also fill out a form on the Salvation Army website, and someone will call, just for a chat. There is also a resource page that includes links to fitness classes, activities for kids, and spiritual care practices.
Almost everyone in the city is familiar with our own Houston Food Bank. Their main focus is on helping people in the Houston real estate area experiencing hunger. But they have service partners throughout Texas, including Gulf communities that were hard hit by the hurricane. In fact, in preparation for hurricane season, the Houston Food Bank stockpiles enough relief supplies to fill 40 tractor-trailers. This allows them to respond immediately when a hurricane hits.
So many people have been hurt economically with coronavirus lockdowns, and people have turned to food banks for help more than ever before. However, for those same reasons, fewer people have been able to donate. If you have even a few extra dollars, Houston Food Bank can make them go far. Each $1 donated can pay for three meals to help hungry people in Houston homes. This is because the food bank has many partnerships that allow them to stretch donation dollars like this.
September is Hunger Action Month, and the food bank has several events going on to raise funds. Houston Restaurant Weeks runs through the end of the month. Participating restaurants have special menus to choose from, and they donate $1 for each meal purchased. Even if you can’t participate in Restaurant Weeks, you can post about the event on your social media. The food bank is always looking for volunteers, too. This month volunteers are bringing in food items that are often needed, including whole grain pasta, canned chicken and tuna, and canned green veggies. There’s also the Hunger Game, where groups of friends or organizations compete to see who can raise the most money or donate the most food to the food bank. There is still time to register your group.
Visit the Houston Food Bank online to learn more about all their efforts to alleviate hunger.
We hope this list gets you thinking about how you can help out during these difficult times. Even sharing donation information on your social media can raise awareness and increase donations. It also helps to normalize asking for assistance, which many need right now.
We are committed to going above and beyond and guiding you every step of the way, and will not settle for less than complete satisfaction.