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8 things families can do to help Hurricane Harvey victims right now

8 things families can do to help Hurricane Harvey victims right now
Photograph: Courtesy U.S. Department of Defense

Since making landfall in Texas last weekend, Hurricane Harvey has devastated the Gulf Coast area with the endless rainfall and subsequent flooding. Homes have been destroyed and evacuated, and thousands are left seeking shelter and are in need of basic necessities. It’s tough to sit all the way over here, seeing how much the hurricane victims have lost and not know how best to help out. Below are a few ways you can lend a hand in recovery efforts while making sure your money and goods are being put to best use.

1. Before sending funds to an organization, give them a quick browse on Charity Navigator. You want to make sure the charity is a verified entity with a solid history of providing humanitarian aid and that the majority of its funds go directly towards disaster relief efforts.

2. Donate money to local organizations that already have systems in place right where they’re needed most. It might not be feasible to hold a canned food drive here, but you can help food banks such as the Houston Food Bank and the Food Bank of Corpus Christi gather essentials for displaced residents.

3. The Red Cross is accepting donations online and via mobile messages by texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

4. Let’s not forget about Hurricane Harvey’s four-legged victims. Houston Humane Society and San Antonio Humane Society are just two organizations that are currently working to rescue and find temporary and permanent shelters for pets of evacuated families. They could use funds to help care for these animals as well as local friends who would be willing to take in a foster pet.

5. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has created a Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that accepts monetary donations for those affected by the floods.

6. Direct Relief is providing clinics and community centers with prescription medication and medical supplies.

7. Save the Children is focusing their efforts on providing families with portable cribs, baby kits, art supplies and kid-friendly spaces within shelters to help little ones feel safe and cared for during the upheaval.

8. And if you have friends or family who live in the area and are in a position to help out, Time Out Austin has provided a list of ways local folks can get those hands on deck.