If you’re watching the reports of unprecedented rain and historic flooding unfolding in Texas from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, you might be wondering what you can do to help.
If you live in the Houston area, the sheriff’s office is asking for people with boats and vehicles that can handle high water to help with rescues.
For everyone else, one easy way to pitch in is to give money to one or more of the many charities involved with the response and recovery. Here are some suggestions and a little guidance if you’re not sure where to start.
This ProPublica article about giving after a disaster is worth reading in its entirety, but it makes a couple of key points to keep in mind:
- Do your own research before giving to any group.
- Groups with strong local ties to their community can sometimes be the best option.
- You have a right to demand accountability of the groups you give to.
Vox’s Dylan Matthews also reviewed some good rules to follow whenever you’re giving to charity.
Now, if you’re looking for some groups to send money or other support to as they respond to Harvey, here are some options. Where applicable, we’ve included a rating from Charity Navigator or Charity Watch, independent groups that evaluates how well organizations perform financially and how efficiently they use the donations they receive.
American Red Cross: Usually the first group people think of when giving after a disaster. It says it is providing shelters for those displaced by Harvey, and it has thousands of volunteers on the ground in the state. You can give here. (3/4 stars from Charity Navigator.)
(A series of reports by ProPublica have raised questions as to how Red Cross uses its donations for emergency relief. You can find some of those stories here.)
All Hands: This nonprofit recommended to Vox by disasterologist Samantha Montano has staff on the ground in Texas, and is in contact with emergency management officials about assisting in the response and recovery. You can give here. (4/4 stars from Charity Navigator.)
Foundation Beyond Belief: The humanist group, also recommended by Montano, is evaluating how best to use the funds it collects. You can give here.
Salvation Army: The Christian charity is emphasizing its intentions to help with long-term recovery in Houston. You can give here.
Operation Supply Drop: Another veterans organization sending volunteers to Texas. You can give here.
Greater Houston Community Fund: A broad-based relief fund established by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. You can give here.
Local food banks: The Houston Press has compiled a list of food banks in the affected area, including Houston Food Bank, Galveston County Food Bank, Corpus Christi Food Bank, Southeast Texas Food Bank, and more. They recommend contacting a food bank directly about their need and what you can do.
Houston Humane Society: The group is helping marshal care and shelter for pets in the area. You can give here. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Texas is undertaking similar efforts. You can give here. The San Antonio Humane Society is doing the same. More here. There is also Austin Pets Alive, which you can give to here.
Americares: The nonprofit focused on medicine and health is seeking to provide emergency medical supplies and other basic resources to first responders and others in Texas. You can give here. (4/4 stars from Charity Navigator.)
Portlight: A disaster response group dedicated specifically to people with disabilities. It is seeking to help affected people with evacuation and finding shelter, any medical equipment needs they might have, and more. You can learn more about its efforts here.
SBP: The New Orleans-based organization is planning to send Americorps volunteers, assist local leaders and nonprofits, and eventually help rebuild damaged or destroyed homes. You can give here. (4/4 stars from Charity Navigator.)
Airbnb: The hospitality company is working to coordinate people in need of a place to stay with people willing to offer a free room. More information here.
Check out Charity Navigator’s Hurricane Harvey page if you’d like to see more options.