If Houston isn’t the epitome of a gut-wrenching nightmare right now, I don’t know what is. Something I do know? Being able to evacuate a city, not to mention the 4th largest city in the U.S. (it’s the size of New Jersey), is a privilege, not to mention a logistical nightmare. You have to have money, a car, gas in that car, a plan, a place to stay, etc., etc., etc. Hearing, “Why didn’t they just evacuate when they were told to?!” conversations are excruciatingly tone-deaf, because for people living in poverty “just evacuate” doesn’t exist. So now what? There are people there who need our help. Let’s give them that.
I’ve rounded up several different charities and a few things to keep in mind when donating to Houston. I know that the most obvious and popular place to donate to is the Red Cross, which is not necessarily a bad place to give your money (though some would argue differently, as it has a bit of a controversial track record), but mainly, it just takes a lot longer for money to get where it needs to go, and there are other vetted-organizations at a local level that desperately need help ASAP. So let’s roll up your sleeves, Wit & Delighters, and do our part.
- Team Rubicon: This organization helps put veterans back to work where they’re using their most useful and natural skills to help those in need.
- Texas AFT has a specific page dedicated to helping teachers. The school year was supposed to start in Houston this week and teachers are going to need to replenish entire classrooms worth of supplies.
- You can find addresses of shelters housing Houston flood victims online. Go to Amazon and send them diapers, tampons, baby formula, wipes, canned goods (with a can opener!), etc. I’m donating to Covenant House, which is a shelter that cares for homeless youth. There are kids facing Harvey alone.
- The above-suggested items work for houses of worship taking people in right now as well. Google their addresses and send; avoid calling if you can. People who survived Katrina and running shelters at the time said keeping up with phone calls is so overwhelming and nearly impossible; the best is just to ‘do’.
- Period Project ATX is collecting feminine hygiene products for victims in Houston (they’re out of Austin but fully focused on Houston right now.) You can buy right off their Amazon wish list.
- Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
- Transgender Foundation of America Houston has created a relief fund that will assist Gulf Coast trans, intersex, and genderqueer survivors in recovering from the flood.
- Coordinating shelter options after a natural disaster is a seriously complicated feat. The Way Home is helping navigate that for Houston’s homeless.
- RAICES is helping find housing for immigrant families stranded by ICE after being released by detention centers.
- Portlight assists people with disabilities and people with medical needs who are seeking shelter right now.
- Houston Food Bank and Food Bank of Corpus Christi. Enough said.
- Obviously, places that are on the ground need donations most right now, but in the months and years to come, consider donating to Green For All, which focuses on how climate change impacts communities of color.
As always, when donating: do your research. There are a plethora of websites that do the investigating for you, like Charity Navigator.
Image via Jean Jullien
Liz Welle is a professional feelings feeler but gets paid to do social and digital stuff for brands in Minneapolis while occasionally food styling on the side. She lives in Uptown with her boyfriend and their thirteen plants. She is doing her best.