Whenever there are catastrophic events albeit natural disasters or some other force (domestic or international) leaving trails of mayhem and destruction the images and reports make our hearts hurt and soul's lament on how to help out. Whether we ourselves are directly caught in moment of needing assistance or a loved one or a neighbor ... we just want to help.
Take it from someone who has helped out with the relief efforts from Hurricane Katrina; Earthquakes in Haiti; Superstorm Sandy; Flint Drinking Water Relief Drive as well as other local - international crisis. It can be overwhelming of knowing what to do and how to help out.
First let me challenge you to sign up for updates regarding the current and ongoing conditions of Hurricane Harvey. As much damage that has been done it is FAR from over!
Second unless you're a trained disaster/catastrophe /crisis responder please do not just get in your vehicle and head to the affected areas. Training is vital for you as well as those in need of your assistance.
Here is a list of a few organizations offering training for Disaster and Crisis Management: (Just click the title and it will take you their site. This is not a comprehensive list. Just some to point you in the right direction.)
- Disaster Ready / Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation
- FEMA / Department of Homeland Security
- Red Cross
- Salvation Army
Third I know getting trained does little to assist now. However you can help out with those already on the ground. Below is a list of organizations already on the ground or sites to gather more information regarding the relief efforts and resources for Hurricane Harvey. (Just click the title and it will take you their site. This is not a comprehensive list. Just some to point you in the right direction.)
- Current Locations for Temporary Shelters or Housing (Information regarding whether the location is accepting pets, on stand-by, or at capacity is available through this site.)
- National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Information regarding organizations already on the ground in the devastated areas both National and Texas organizations can be found on this site. Individuals wanting to make donations can do so through this site.)
- The National Flood Insurance Program (Information on how to file a claim is located on this site.)
- Disaster Assistance (Information about resources for assistance during disaster can be found on this site.)
- Hurricane Preparedness (Information on Hurricane Preparedness Week as well as resources on volunteer organizations to partner with.)
Before You Give Check Out A Charitable Organization's Status:
City of Houston Information:
- Houston Emergency
- City of Houston Government
- Office of Emergency Management
- Go Bag Preparation | Evacuation Plan Resources
Texas Organizations seeking volunteers or donations:
- South Texas Blood and Tissue Center (The center says although O negative and O positive blood is at critically low levels, all blood type donations are welcome. The center says less than a day's supply is available. The center is asking the public in the San Antonio and New Braunfels areas to donate right now. Call 210-731-5590 to schedule an appointment to donate blood. From the TWC 8.28.17)
- Texas Diaper Bank ( "Diapers are not provided by disaster relief agencies," the TDB posted on Facebook Friday. To alleviate that need, the TDB is requesting donations of cash and diapers to provide emergency diaper kits for families that are being displaced due to Hurricane Harvey. From the TWC 8.28.17)
- Austin Pets Alive! (Austin Pets Alive! is an animal shelter and no-kill pet advocacy group seeking assistance to help with pets in the aftermath of the storm. From the TWC 8.28.17)
- Catholic Charities USA Text CCUSADISASTER to 71777
Texas State Information:
- State of Texas Emergency Portal
- Road Closures
- Texas Departure of Public Safety
- Texas Department of Transportation
Louisiana State Information:
- Lake Charles Hurricane Information
- Governor's Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness
- Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
Fourth take a long deep breath get some oxygen flowing through your body. Let's get them endorphins and serotonin working. It is hard to be apart of a crisis let alone witness it take its toll on those we love, connected too, or are concerned about. Rebuilding can only happen after the recovery phase of relief efforts. If you are person of faith tap into your faith. If not find a quiet space to recenter yourself perhaps meditate. Take these moments moment by moment. Find someone to speak with and then develop a plan that will work for you.
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