As now Tropical Storm Harvey continues to ravage and dump rain on Texas and Louisiana, it’s only normal that people from all over the country and world ask “What can I do to help?”
Here’s a list of what you can do and what you shouldn’t do!
Donate to a valid charity
- The largest aid organization in the United States is the American Red Cross. Donate money on its website or to text 90999 to donate $10. The Red Cross is also encouraging people to donate blood. The Kentucky Blood Center is located at 3121 Beaumont Center Circle in Lexington. Their phone number is 800-775-2522.
- Another international charity is GlobalGiving. They’ve set up the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
- Catholic Charities also has a specific fund to assist with Hurricane Harvey relief.
- The United Way of Houston has set up a relief fund to support the community in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
- The Texas Diaper Bank is asking for donations for their mission.
- More charities in Texas – Lexington Herald-Leader
It’s important to check the background of a fundraiser or charity that you’re not familiar with. During and after disasters, persons will set-up fraudulent charities. You can check out a local charity through the local Better Business Bureau or organizations like CharityWatch.org
Stay aware of the situation in Texas and surrounding areas
The National Weather Service, FEMA and other state and local disaster preparedness organizations agree that Hurricane Harvey is a dangerous, once in one-thousand year storm. It will continue to dump rain over the southeast coastal area of Texas, including Houston, as well as southern Louisiana and Mississippi. Stay tuned in to weather forecasts and news channels.
Take time to be prepared for you and your family
As you watch and hear about thousands of people who were affected by the hurricane force wind and rain in Texas, remember that Lexington isn’t immune to natural disasters. Over the past 20 years, Fayette County residents have experienced tornadoes, crippling ice storms and snow events and flooding. There’s no substitute for being prepared for emergencies. Here’s how:
- Create and update your emergency plan
- Build an emergency kit for your home, your car and your office
- Get involved with preparedness so you can help others
What NOT to do
- Do not organize food or used clothing drivesOne of the many “lessons learned” from Hurricane Katrina was that local official and emergency responders don’t have time to store, sort and organize used clothing, small appliances and other “we don’t need this anymore” items. Much of what was gathered and trucked down to storm-affected areas ended up in landfills. Transportation costs of donated items simply aren’t worth it. The best thing to do is to make a donation and let local organizations buy what they need in the affected areas.
- Do not “self deploy” to the disaster areaEven if you’re a medical professional, trained first responder or other public safety staff member, do NOT just decide you’re going to go to Texas and help. Forecasters indicate that this tropical storm will continue to churn in the south central United States for at least another week. Some areas of Texas will receive another 10-25 inches of rain before the storm moves inland. Hotels are full and fuel and food are at a premium. Organized recovery efforts are just getting started. Unless you are part of a disaster team that is registered with a federal or state organization, it’s best to sit tight and let the local first responders handle the local response.
For more information about emergency preparedness, please visit: BeReadyLexington.com