Hurricane Ida’s fierce winds and unrelenting rains caused deaths and catastrophic devastation from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast. Given the gravity of the losses and the extent of the needs, our first thoughts are how can I help? Just a few years ago, Hurricane Harvey dropped torrential rainfall on the greater Houston area and parts of Louisiana causing destruction from which some families are still recovering. Our neighbors to the east blessed us with support, including search and rescue assistance, generosity and kindness.
While we want to “pay it forward,” we would not “self-deploy” and risk becoming part of the problem by needing to be rescued or requiring valuable resources. Here are some considerations:
- First responders typically cannot support unknown, spontaneous volunteers. Volunteers should be prepared to provide for themselves.
- Best practice is to connect with an existing volunteer organization before coming to a disaster area. Wait until opportunities that match your skills are identified.
- Be certain to address your personal issues before leaving for the disaster zone so that you can focus on helping.
Here are some ways to help:
Gallery Furniture is sponsoring a supply drive. Water, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, diapers, non-perishable food, etc. are requested and can be dropped off at 6006 North Fwy., Houston, Texas, 77076.
The American Red Cross (ARC) is requesting donations. ARC Central Houston – 713-526-8300, redcross.org/helptoday, 1-800- RED CROSS.
The Houston Food Bank is providing evacuee support and delivering food to Second Harvest Food Bank in Louisiana. The Food Bank needs donations and volunteers to sort and pack food. The Food Bank hotline number is 281-786-2676.
Kroger is partnering with Gallery Furniture. Donation bags can be purchased at Kroger and will delivered to Gallery for transport to Louisiana.
Given the devastation that our neighbors have experienced, there will be basic needs for some time to come.
Please be weary of solicitations from unknown organizations. Scammers are always ready to take advantage of a disaster. Scammers may use the name of a known charity, pressure you to act quickly and have specific payment methods, like by gift cards, wire transfers or cash.