The stream of photos I took when visiting Houston, Texas, last fall were bright with color. The pink of raspberry beer at St. Arnold’s Brewery, the blue, yellow and purple paint streaks flowing down the Biscuit Paint Wall, the green foliage at McGovern Centennial Gardens.
Less than a year later, every picture I’m seeing of Houston is murky with grey/brown floodwaters and yellow vests in rescue efforts.
Since Harvey made landfall Friday as a Category 4 hurricane, Houston has been bogged down by lingering heavy rain and flooding. By the end of the storm, some areas of Houston and its suburbs could be swamped by up to 50 inches of rain. Over the weekend, tens of thousands of people were in shelters.
It’s unreal to see the images and read the stories — how families have been finding refuge on rooftops, how doctors have been working 24-hour shifts to aid hospital evacuation efforts, how the Red Cross has been setting up Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center and other places as shelters.
Houston is more than 1,000 miles from Charlotte. How can we help?
According to emergency officials, the best form of help right now is donating to responsible charities working directly with the area’s victims.
Also worth noting: According to the Center for International Disaster Information, charities generally prefer monetary donations because they are more flexible, allowing the charities to help more.
Here are eight ways you can help hurricane victims in Houston today:
Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization that works in crisis areas. The organization has disaster relief units in Texas to aid struggling residents. Donate online here.
Salvation Army USA provides physical and emotional care to residents and relief workers of the hurricane, and aims to support long-term disaster recovery efforts. Donate online here.
The Houston Humane Society took in animals from La Porte Animal Control in advance of the storm and is working to free up space for strays, and bring in animals displaced by the hurricane. Donate online here.
(6) Global Giving
The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund under Global Giving is offering emergency supplies including food, water and medicine, as well as longer-term recovery assistance. Donate online here.
GoFundMe has a whole page of donation options devoted to Hurricane Harvey relief. Prior to Hurricane Harvey’s landfall, the organization’s Trust & Safety Team reported that it briefed officials in Texas and Louisiana on steps taken to protect donors and recipients, ensuring that funds go to the right place and directly to those in need.
Here are two funds to get started:
The Harvey Disaster Animal Fund supports animals coming to 4 Paws Farm’s shelters and rescues in need of food, bedding, possible transport and veterinary care. Donate online here.
Photo: David J. Phillip/AP