Hurricane Harvey: How to Help

The disaster in Texas has been weighing really heavily on me the past few days. There are so many people hurting, people who have lost everything, people who don't know where family members are, people who need help.

It has been so refreshing to see how Americans have come together to support the victims. I have heard so many wonderful stories and seen so many incredible posts on social media that are truly inspiring. It is a shame that it takes such tragedy to make us take a stand for one another, but it just shows that no matter how anyone tries to portray our country these days, the American spirit is alive and well in most citizens.

I think it is interesting for kids/adults-in-training my age because we haven't seen anything like this happen since 2005. We remember everything that happened, but most of us weren't yet able to wrap our minds around the devastation that Hurricane Katrina caused. Whether or not Harvey's impact ranks with Katrina's, it is still the first major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. in 12 years. The images that are coming out of Texas are heartbreaking.

All photos courtesy of the NY Times.

Luckily, there are many ways for us to help the victims- a lot of ways made possible by social media and technology. We can thank God for blessing us with it in times like these, for sure! I would strongly encourage everyone to do something. The semi-annual Lilly Pulitzer sale started Monday. If you are able to purchase a $60 dress (on sale, no less) you have money to give to the relief efforts. I know that we aren't made out of money, but there are other way to get involved.
  1. Give blood. The American Red Cross has a website where you can see blood drives near you.
  2. Adopt a school in Houston. The ECU College of Education has started collecting funds to donate to schools in need of new supplies. Katrina severely affected many students, putting them out of school for months and even years. Let's do what we can to not let such a tragedy affect children's educations.
  3. Volunteer. Organizations like Heart to Heart are looking for people to help administer aid to hurricane victims.
  4. Find a supply drive. If you don't want to donate money, give tangible items. There are hundreds of supply drives happening around the country. This one in Clayton is loading up a tractor trailer departing for Texas on Sunday. 
  5. Texas Forever t-shirt. Magnolia Market (i.e. Chip and Joanna of Fixer Upper fame!) is selling these Texas Forever t-shirts to benefit the relief efforts. This is for all of those Friday Night Lights fans out there! (I bought one!) There are other companies selling benefit t-shirts as well.
  6. Shop on Amazon. Yes, really! Lots of groups have started Amazon wishlists for desperately needed supplies. Check out a list of organizations and links to their wishlists here.
  7. Help the animals. Don't forget about the pets affected by Harvey. Giving to organizations such as the Houston Humane Society and Houston SPCA can make a difference.
  8. GoFundMe. There is an aggregate page of all the campaigns raising money here.
  9. Support the agriculture community. Farmers and ranchers have lost their livelihoods, as well. Give to organizations such as the State of Texas Agriculture Relief Fund. Other private campaigns are out there to help farming families. 
Do what you can with what you have, y'all. Go out and spread good!

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