Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston, TX, area with torrential rains and high winds.
Our "sister" city of Pasadena, TX, was not spared. They experienced flooding and mandatory evacuations.
I was in touch with their Chamber CEO, Christina Womack, who assured me they are coping, though still trying to assess what their needs might be. She also told me the Pasadena Police Department had reached out to their colleagues in Pasadena, TX, with offers of assistance.
She has told me she will be back in touch with specifics about how we can assist, and assist the Pasadena, TX, business community to get back on its feet.
Once we have an idea of the needs in Pasadena, TX, we will ask you to help fill those needs.
In the meantime, if you want to donate to help victims in the Houston area, the American Red Cross is accepting donations to assist victims. You can donate to the local Texas Gulf Coast Chapter here: http://www.redcross.org/local/texas/gulf-coast.
There are also local Houston-area food banks in need of donations to help victims. You can donate to the Houston Food Bank here:
Charity Navigator has a web portal with links to donation sites for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as earthquake relief for Mexico. You can find all the links here: https://www.charitynavigator.org/
Support for victims of Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma in Puerto Rico from PBS SoCal:
Islands throughout the Caribbean communities are beginning a long road to recovery from several major hurricanes that have ravaged the Atlantic. But Puerto Rico in particular is facing what local officials have described as a full-blown humanitarian crisis, with devastation they call “apocalyptic.”
Less than two weeks after Hurricane Irma made landfall on the island, Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria, the worst natural disaster the island has seen in nearly a century. Sixteen people have died as a result of the storm, according to the Associated Press, a number local officials expect to rise. The island has virtually no running water or electricity; around 80 percent of the island’s crops have been destroyed. Scores of Puerto Ricans are gathering around what’s left of the island’s cell towers, desperate for contact with loved ones.
READ MORE: Puerto Rico has asked for more aid in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Will the U.S. provide it?
Nearly all of the U.S. territory’s 3.4 million residents need assistance recovering from the storm. Here’s how you can help.
Cash. Most organizations are asking for cash, rather than supplies, so they can route help to where it’s needed most more quickly. Here are some of the largest groups with campaigns underway:
GoFundMe has also created a hub that includes all campaigns for Hurricane Maria. You can also find campaigns for individual families seeking help for loved ones.
Supplies. The government of Puerto Rico has also launched a guide that details how individuals or companies can donate emergency and construction supplies (from bottled water, hand sanitizer and formula to extension cords, tarp and safety glasses). The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) is coordinating many of these donations here (and corporate giving here).
Volunteers. Once infrastructure is stable, the island will also need volunteers. VOAD is a good place to start. It can help match you with organizations with efforts already underway.
Spread the word. Part of the problem is that much of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean isn’t able to ask for help, due to loss of power and infrastructure.
Facebook has a safety check page for victims and their families to check in with each other, as does Google Docs’ person finder. If you or loved one has access to any kind of cell or internet service, the American Red Cross also has an Emergency! App for saftey check-ins and updates. Univision launched an interactive page where you can search for updates on individual municipalities. Officials in Puerto Rico are asking people to report U.S. citizens who need emergency assistance to the State Department through its Task Force Alert program. Go to http://tfa.state.gov and select “2017 Storm Maria.”
Finding reliable ways to give, especially during times when multiple disasters intersect like they did this month, can be overwhelming. This list is a good place to start, but as always, do your own research to make sure your aid dollars go as far as they possibly can in the right direction. Visit Charity Navigator if you aren’t sure whether an organization is trustworthy.
Support for Hurricane Irma victims:
Here is a sampling of charities dedicating resources to Irma victims (many of which also continue to assist people in Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey):
1. The American Red Cross already has volunteers assisting in the Caribbean islands and Florida with more on the way. You can visit the organization's website or call 1-800-RED CROSS to make a donation. Alternatively, you can text "IRMA" to 90999 to donate $10.
2. Catholic Relief Services, which will use donations to help provide shelter, water and critical supplies like hygiene kits to storm victims in the Caribbean, is taking donations though its website. Or, you can call 877-435-7277.
3. Save The Children, which has assisted in the Caribbean and is deploying teams and supplies to Florida geared toward children and families worst affected by the storm, is accepting donations via its website. Or, you can text "IRMA" to 20222 to make a $10 donation.
4. Direct Relief, an organization that is providing emergency medical supplies and resources to communities affected by Irma, is accepting donations on its website or by phone (1-805-964-4767).
5. Habitat for Humanity International will help with post-disaster recovery efforts, including the repair of damaged homes construction of new affordable houses. The group also is helping families affected by Harvey. Donations can be made on its website or by calling 1-800-HABITAT.
6. World Hope International is accepting donations on its website. The money will be used to purchase emergency supplies and equipment for the storm recovery.
7. GlobalGiving, a crowdfunding site for charitable giving, has started a relief fund dedicated to Irma victims. You can donate through its website or text IRMA to 80100 to donate $10.
8. GoFundMe, another crowdfunding site, has a dedicated area on its website for Irma-related fundraising campaigns. You can choose from one of hundreds of individual campaigns on the webpage or donate to the Direct Impact Fund, whose donations get distributed among verified campaigns to help victims of Irma. GoFundMe donations are guaranteed to end up in the right place or donors get their money back