Send some sunshine to Hurricane Harvey victims and first responders!
First, you gotta see Otis. His picture is at right – and you can click on it to go read his story.
Ok now that that’s done with (isn’t Otis adorable!?)….you might know that I’m big on charitable giving. And our fellow citizens suffering the horrific flooding due to Hurricane Harvey need us! This page will be updated as I find more orgs that need support *and* any orgs to send cards to.
I’m also fundraising on THIS POST – for every comment by Friday Sept 1, I’m donating $5 to hurricane relief, so leave some love over there!
PLEASE SHARE this page with your friends and family…everyone can find a way to help!
Please know a few things about what’s best to give during disasters:
- Money is best. It can be used to purchase items *right there* on the ground as needed. What’s needed most might be inglorious. Like portapotties. Who wants to buy a portapotty? Nobody. But cash to an org on the ground can help them get exactly what will help most.
- Do NOT gather up your old stuff, or empty your closet or pencil drawer, or other random physical objects to mail to Texas. Honestly, they’re better off buying clothes so they know what they have rather than sorting through a truckload of items gathered at your church. If you DO want to get your community together, do things like:
- Fund drives. Get creative in how your group can express its identity and share your values as you raise funds. And get on it quick! But don’t stop giving after the first part of the disaster; help is needed for years to come.
- School supplies. Fill backpacks that have everything a kiddo needs. Don’t send loads of items that need to be sorted/assembled into kits for kids.
- Hygiene kits. Toothpaste, toothbrushes, water purification tablets, etc. All in the same ratio of items in each packet – so whoever gets them knows exactly what’s in everything. Leave it in original packaging so no one worries about tampering.
- No homemade foods. Unless you’re on the ground serving up meals, don’t send anything home cooked.
- Partner with a church or “sister” community organization – ie find a church of your denomination and call to ask how you can help. If they tell you what to send, send that! Adopt that sister organization long-term and help them over the years as their needs change.
- OR Find an NGO that’s asking for tangible things, they can best distribute them and give you instructions on how to package them to be most useful and the least work in ‘handling’t . And do it in the timing THEY say is best; some may not want tangible goods *yet* until the rescuing is done.
- Did I say that money is best? Having worked at NGOs, I can tell you that will make the most impact FASTEST. Otherwise someone has to inventory incoming packages, sort, truck them out, etc.
Thanks to a bunch of folks gathering links on twitter and around the web, I’m reposting all I can find here. PLEASE choose a charity and give. Even $5 makes a difference. See below for card donations.
- The SPCA in Texas and Dallas Animal Services are offering aid to displaced pets
- The Texas Diaper Bank is assisting people with small children
- The San Antonio Food Bank
- More food banks
- The Central Texas Food Bank
- Driscoll Children’s Hospital directly in the path of Harvey in Corpus Christi
- Portlight is providing coordination & hotline assistance for people w/ disabilities & elderly
- Heart to Heart International is bringing medical supplies
- The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center and Carter BloodCare – give online as well as blood donations in person
- Red Cross online, or text 90999 to donate $10. The organization is also asking for volunteers
- Global Giving is raising $2 million to provide food, water, and medicine in addition to longer-term recovery assistance
- GoFundMe has highlighted stories of people who are suffering as a result of Harvey
- Greater Houston Community Foundation – Houston Mayor’s Foundation
- World Vision
- The Salvation Army
- Samaritan’s Purse
Gulf Coast Card Drive for first responders
These aren’t being collected to be mailed en masse….I’m just putting together some addresses and suggestions. If you have a suggestion to add to this list, leave a comment!
When sending cards to first responders…some tips:
- Send uplifting messages! Don’t tell them how awful it looks on the news. They know that.
- Thanks for supporting your community/country
- Be safe out there
- Praying for you (no proselytizing)
- Your wishes for them (dry socks and hot coffee, the joy in making a difference)
- A little about you if you wish (first name, hometown, fun fact)
- Jokes (yes, everyone could use a giggle!)
- Can address your note to Dear friend, Dear hero…or I go simple and start the note with “Hi there!”
- Card themes: Any general theme, or thank you/encouragement works. Patriotic is nice as they are service-oriented folks. But sunshine and flowers are great, anything funny, some masculine and some feminine. Something from the heart! The new stamp set HERE is awesome.
- Send drawings from your kids! Encourage them not to draw pictures of people drowning, even if that’s the thing that comes to mind. Have them draw pictures of people and pets being rescued, and tell them how old they are. Or just happy sunny pictures with big thank you messages. Kids can address their notes “to my hero.” No last names, keep those kiddos safe.
- Do NOT include gifts, snacks, inserts, tracts, etc. Just a card with a message in it. Don’t make it complicated for them to tack on a bulletin board to share with everyone.
- Expect no replies. This isn’t a penpal effort, just sending love and encouragement from across the nation.
Send to one of the addresses below, OR select a town name you hear mentioned on the news (the storm is moving, so Lousiana will soon be added to the list!) and google for “[TOWN NAME] Fire Department address” or “[TOWN NAME} Police Department address. I even looked for substations for Houston – but small towns likely only have one address.
- Houston Fire Department HQ, 1801 Smith Street, 7th Floor, Houston, TX 77002
- Houston Fire Stations (105 of them!) are listed HERE.
- Houston Police Department Headquarters, 1200 Travis Street, Houston, TX 77002
- Houston PD substations:
- Houston Police Department 9455 W Montgomery Rd, Houston, TX 77088
- Houston Police Department 6000 Teague Rd, Houston, TX 77041
- Houston Police Department 8300 Mykawa Rd, Houston, TX 77033
- Houston Police Department 7525 Sherman St, Houston, TX 77012
- Houston Police Department 61 Riesner St, Houston, TX 77002
- Houston Police Department 4503 Beechnut St, Houston, TX 77096
- Houston Police Department 3203 S Dairy Ashford Rd, Houston, TX 77082
- Houston Police Department 4363 W Fuqua St, Houston, TX 77045
- Houston Police Department 3915 Rustic Woods Dr, Kingwood, TX 77339
- Houston Police Department 3511 Reed Rd, Houston, TX 77051
- Houston Police Department 8400 Long Point Rd, Houston, TX 77055
- Houston Police Department 10966 North Fwy, Houston, TX 77037
- Houston Police Department 7277 Regency Square Blvd, Houston, TX 77036
- Houston Police Department 6719 W Montgomery Rd, Houston, TX 77091
- Houston Police Department 9700 Bissonnet St #1740w, Houston, TX 77036
- Rockport Volunteer Firefighters, 212 Gagon St, Rockport, TX 78382
- Rockport Police Department, 714 E Concho St, Rockport, TX 78382
- Victoria Police Department, 306 S Bridge St, Victoria, TX 77901
- Victoria Fire Department, 606 E Goodwin Ave, Victoria, TX 77901
- Port Lavaca Police Department, 201 N Colorado St, Port Lavaca, TX 77979
- Port O’Connor Volunteer Fire Department, 101 6th St, Port O’Connor, TX 77982
- U.S. Coast Guard Station Port O’Connor, 2333 Maple St, Port O’Connor, TX 77982
- Beaumont Police Dept 255 College St, Beaumont, TX 77701
- Beaumont Fire Dept
- Station 1, 747 College St, Beaumont, TX 77701
- Station 2, 4990 Helbig Rd, Beaumont, TX 77708
- Station 3,805 Woodrow Ave, Beaumont, TX 77705
- Station 4, w 77706, 1301 W Lucas Dr, Beaumont, TX 77706
- Station 5, 6375 Walden Rd, Beaumont, TX 77707
- Station 6, 1880 S Major Dr, Beaumont, TX 77707
- Station 7, 1710 Mcfaddin Ave, Beaumont, TX 77701
- Station 8, Lampman Dr, Beaumont, TX 77708
- Station 9, 7010 Gladys Ave, Beaumont, TX 77706
- Station 10, 3855 Washington Blvd, Beaumont, TX 77705
- Station 11, 525 Royal St, Beaumont, TX 77701
- Station 14, 8250 Old Voth Rd, Beaumont, TX 77708
- FEMA Federal: 500 C Street S.W., Washington, D.C. 20472 (Director: Brock Long)
- FEMA Texas: Federal Regional Center, 800 North Loop 288 Denton, TX 76201
I am reaching out to some of the organizations taking care of displaced flood victims to ask if we can send cards to encourage those who are suffering – let’s not do it until we know someone is ready to handle the mail, ok? I’ll update this post as I get more information, more organizations, or more addresses.