How to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey

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Nina Pineda shows you how to avoid being scammed when donating to those in need. (David J. Phillip/AP Photo)

Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas after making landfall near Corpus Christi on Friday night. The slow-moving storm left behind flattened communities and historic flooding in Houston and other parts of Texas throughout the weekend.

If you would like to help those affected by the storm, here's what you should keep in mind.

You can help right now

The Red Cross said they depend on financial donations to help provide immediate relief. They have already set up a way to donate to victims with a simple text. Text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation. You can also visit redcross.org or call 1-855-999-GIVE.

The United Way has also announced a way to text a donation: Text UWFLOOD to 41444 to donate to the United Way Flood Relief Fund

Donations to support The Salvation Army's Hurricane Harvey relief efforts can be made at helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

Give cash, not supplies

Most charities prefer monetary donations. These are more flexible and cause less of a strain on the charity, allowing them to help more, USAID explained.

"Unlike material donations, cash involves no transportation costs, shipping delays, or customs fees. It also enables relief organizations to spend more time providing aid by spending less time managing goods," the organization explained on its website.

In Houston, BBVA Compass Stadium is acting as a drop-off location for donations at its southeast gate, on Emancipation Street near Walker Street. The site opens at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, August 30. The most needed items include:

  • Baby food
  • Baby formula
  • Diapers
  • Medical supplies
  • Wheelchairs
  • Plus-sized clothes
  • Baby and children's clothes
  • Toiletries


Volunteer at shelters

The American Red Cross in Texas has asked people to volunteer. The office announced on Friday that it would be training volunteers at their shelters through a "fast=track" course. The Salvation Army also announced it would be accepting volunteers to hand out supplies and food at shelters. Check for a local group in your area that is sending volunteers.

Volunteer Houston has launched a VIRTUAL Volunteer Reception Center to aid non-profits and agencies in finding and deploying people to hard-site areas.

Go local

Grocery chain H-E-B plans to donate $100,000 toward Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. On Monday, all H-E-B, Central Market and Joe V's Smart Shop stores across Texas launched a statewide tear pad campaign, giving customers an opportunity to support victims through donations of $1, $3, or $5, which can be added to their total grocery bill.

The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund set up by Houston's mayor, Sylvester Turner, and administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

Houston Food Bank and the Food Bank of Corpus Christi are asking for donations.

Carter BloodCare covers hospitals in north, central and east Texas. To donate, call 877-571-1000 or text DONATE4LIFE to 444-999.

To help animals suffering from the disaster, visit the Houston Humane Society or the San Antonio Humane Society.

The Texas Diaper Bank in San Antonio is asking for diapers and wipes, which can be dropped off in person or mailed to 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, Tex., 78238.

Check the charity

Before you donate to a charity, make sure you know where your aid is going. The Center for International Disaster Information recommends checking with a charity monitoring organization like GiveWell, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or the Better Business Bureau before donating.

Make sure your donation is secure by going through an organization's official website or sending a check in the mail. Charity Navigator says you should never donate over the phone, email or unknown social media pages, as these are easier for scammers to target.

Donate Blood

AABB, which coordinates a task force to manage blood collection efforts during disasters, put out a call on Sunday for blood donations in the aftermath of Harvey.

Those interested in donating blood may contact the following organizations:

AABB: 301-907-6977
America's Blood Centers
American Red Cross: 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)
Armed Services Blood Program: 703-681-5979

Online-Only Organizations

GoFundMe has created a page with all of its Harvey-related campaigns.

Airbnb is waiving service fees for those affected by the disaster and checking in between Aug. 23 and Sept. 1, and can guide users in creating a listing where their home is offered to victims free.

YouCaring has a fund-raising page set up by J. J. Watt of the Houston Texans with a goal of $1 million.

GlobalGiving's Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund supports local organizations by helping with "immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products and shelter."

Related Topics:
weatherdonationscharitiesvolunteerismblood drivefloridasocietyhouston floodhurricane harvey