Houston has been hit hard by Hurricane Harvey. With the rainfall still going, and water rising, here's what you can do to help those in need!

Over the weekend, the disastrous Hurricane Harvey left an insurmountable amount of damage in its wake in Houston and surrounding Texas cities. Many people have evacuated their homes to safety, but many others are finding themselves stranded on their roofs or in rapidly flooding apartment complexes, even as the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm status. Harvey has continuously dumped record levels of rain on Houston and surrounding areas of Texas over the weekend and Monday, and things are only expected to get worse. The Washington Post reported that Harvey could affect more than seven million people in Southeast Texas. The National Weather Service described the flooding as "epic and catastrophic" and "beyond anything experienced." https://twitter.com/BiologistDan/status/902176044265943040 Firefighters from Colorado have joined a nationwide initiative to help those in Houston. They will be assisting the search and rescue efforts for people caught up in the flooding. At least three officials from Aurora Fire Rescue, three from Castle Rock Fire Department, and two from Denver Fire were deployed on Sunday. While our Colorado fire officials will be taking care of the search and rescues, if you're anything like me, you're hoping to be able to do something yourself! Check out these great ways you can lend a hand to those in need after Harvey:
  • Crowdfunding website, Global Giving, is attempting to raise $2 million to provide "food, water, and medicine in addition to longer-term recovery assistance" to Harvey victims. As of Monday, Aug. 28, Global Giving has raised over $350,000.
  • The Salvation Army, Houston, has seriously stepped up their game and completely revamped their website with every bit of information you need to know how to help. Obviously you can donate, which you should! But they also have instructions on how you can send clothes, food, and other means of assistance. The Salvation Army is deploying 42 mobile kitchens, which will be able to make about 1,500 meals a day from Oklahoma and Arkansas to Texas. The organization will also have teams in the main towns that were hit by Harvey and provide cleanup kits and shelter supplies, as well as food.
  • The Red Cross is hosting at least 1,800 people in Texas shelters. TRC has supplies to support about 28,000 people in shelters and is sending supplies for another 22,000. The organization stocked up on blood for transfusions, of course, but they could always use more help. You can call or visit their website to see how you can donate.
If you are worried about the children, which, let's be honest, we ALL are, there are several organizations attempting to help the little ones:
  • For children with complex medical needs: Those who have extra pediatric medical supplies like tracheostomy and ventilator supplies, feeding tubes, nebulizers, air purifiers, or specialty baby formula can reach out to the Washington, D.C., organization Little Lobbyists, or Trach Mommas of Louisiana in Baton Rouge for instructions on how you can drop off supplies.
  • And for ALL the children, it's important to remember that diapers aren't often donated in relief efforts, and there are many displaced families with little ones that need them. The Texas Diaper Bank is currently taking donations to help provide families with what they need.
There are also many displaced individuals with disabilities that need your help! Portlight offers specific help to those with disabilities during natural disasters such as Harvey. You can reach Portlight at 1-800-626-4959 or visit their website to find out how you can help. https://twitter.com/RAragonKPRC2/status/902274954133045248 Of course, we can't forget about all the furry friends that need help in Houston!
  • If you want to help the pets displaced by Hurricane Harvey, the Louisiana SPCA has a ton of helpful information and ideas.
  • Of course, monetary donations to the Houston SPCA are always the most helpful, as it allows the shelters to stock up on all the necessary supplies they need.
  • If you're an animal welfare professional and want to lend a hand, you can submit an online form, and your information will immediately be sent to the Houston SPCA and SPCA of Texas so they can reach out to you if they need your assistance.
https://twitter.com/sdbrichards/status/902272713951035393 Lastly, if you want to do more than simply shell out cash -- if you wish to volunteer -- it's important to remember that organization is key in situations such as these. While individual assistance is always appreciated, your well-meaning help could actually slow down operations. That being said, if you are in a storm-hit area and want to lend a hand, you can register your help through Volunteer Houston or All Hands Volunteers, which are coordinating civilian help. If you know of any other ways people can help those suffering in Houston, reach out! We'd love to know ALL of the ways we can help as a community!
Featured image courtesy of @CHSBlueDevil1 on Twitter.

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