Hurricane Harvey’s effects on the Texas coast are likely to be long-lasting and varied, even as the storm weakened to a tropical storm. Devastating rains are expected to continue through most of the week, according to the National Weather Service.
People watching from the rest of the world may feel helpless, but there are ways to get involved and help the victims of this massive storm.
Here are some options:
The best way to help Texans affected by disasters is to donate money to charitable agencies that are experienced in disaster relief, officials say.
Organizations such as the American Red Cross and Salvation Army are trained to respond to disasters such as Harvey, which is pounding the Texas Gulf Coast.
"Right now the best thing people can do is donate money," said Katrina Farmer, director of American Red Cross offices in San Angelo, Abilene and Wichita Falls, Texas cities far from the coastline. "This is going to be an expensive disaster."
While people often want to donate items, Farmer said that isn’t as helpful as money.
"People should not go out and buy things because they might not be needed," she explained.
Organizations participating in hurricane relief efforts include:
• American Red Cross. To donate visit redcross.org, call 1- 800-RED CROSS or text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
• The Salvation Army: To donate visit www.helpsalvationarmy.org or call 1-800-725-2769.
• Catholic Charities USA: Visit catholiccharitiesusa.org to donate.
• GlobalGiving: visit https://www.globalgiving.org/harvey. Donors can also text HARVEY to 80100 to donate $10 to GlobalGiving's Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Message and data rates may apply. Terms: hmgf.org/t. Send a check by writing,"Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund" in the memo line and mailing it to GlobalGiving, 1110 Vermont Ave NW, Suite 550, Washington DC, 20005.
• Save the Children: www.savethechildren.org. Save the Children’s emergency response team is on the ground in San Antonio, Texas, working to meet children and families’ immediate needs
• Apple: The multimedia giant has set up a donation link directly on iTunes and App Store.Visit www.apple.com for more information. Donations will go directly to the American Red Cross.
• Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner established this fund administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation to accept tax-deductible flood-relief donations. Checks and money orders can be mailed to the Greater Houston Community Foundation, while online credit card donations can be made at www.ghcf.org. Online credit card donations will be assessed a small fee by the credit card companies. Donors have the option of increasing their credit card donations to cover this fee. Wire-transferred cash will also be accepted.
• City of New Orleans "Pay it Forward" fund. Mayor Mitch Landrieu established this fund in May 2011 to contribute to recovery effort following the Mississippi River flooding disaster. The day after the 12th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, he asked New Orleanians to pitch in again in order to help Hurricane Harvey victims. Those interesting in donating to the fund can visit www.gnof.org/NOLApayitforward.
The Red Cross and Salvation Army will be involved with disaster relief efforts, providing shelter, fresh drinking water, food, toiletries, clothes, bedding and other necessities.
They also are involved with rebuilding efforts once the storm has passed and will send trained volunteers to help with the recovery.
The Red Cross and Salvation Army also need volunteers to help at the shelters set up to house people who fled the coast.
• Red Cross: redcross.org/volunteer/.
• Salvation Army: http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/volunteer/
By Friday afternoon, "tens of thousands" of residents on the coast were moving north, filling up shelters in San Antonio, Dallas and Fredericksburg, Farmer said.
Blood centers anticipate a shortage and are putting out urgent pleas for donations. The closure of blood banks and collection centers along the coast paired with likely injuries from the storm will stress existing supplies.
People wishing to donate blood should contact their local community's Red Cross or check for blood banks in their area.
Help a children’s hospital
Driscoll Children’s Hospital, which cares for Corpus Christi’s youngest and most ill patients, was directly in the path of Harvey. The hospital transported many of its patients out of harm’s way, but will likely will need funds to seamlessly continue operating its 189-bed pediatric facility.
Donations can be made online at www.driscollchildrens.org.