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How you can help Hurricane Harvey relief efforts

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, there has been an incredible outpouring of support from our community. We’re seeing people come together to help those who have lost everything.

It’s easy to feel helpless when you’re watching a disaster like this unfold from afar. We are all itching to do something. But often times, it’s the intangibles and the little things that truly make a difference.

Here are ways you can make a difference now as we take steps together to recover and move forward.

Support financially

The biggest need in disasters of this magnitude is financial donations. There are so many different physical needs that arise, but giving monetarily ensures that your donation will do the most good possible. From there, humanitarian organizations will know what needs must be met.

If you are able to contribute financial relief, it is the fastest, most efficient way to help the people impacted. There are many humanitarian organizations providing emergency assistance and disaster relief for those affected by Hurricane Harvey, and these donations are crucial in relief efforts. 

Donate supplies as needed

Thousands of people are taking refuge in shelters throughout Texas, and many of them have lost everything they own. They will depend on donations from people like you to get the practical items they need.

But be careful to only donate supplies that have been specifically requested. There are certain items that are needed immediately. Other items, while appreciated, may go to waste if there is not a need for them.

Some of the most commonly requested item are toiletries. You can donate hygiene kits containing specifically designated items through Baylor Scott & White Health’s Faith in Action Initiative. These kits will be provided to evacuees around the state.

Refer to the graphic below for a list of needed items:

Find a donation site near you:

Volunteer your time

It’s hard to resist the urge to drop everything and go lend a hand. But in all honesty, that can sometime create more problems than it solves. There is an incredible amount of coordination involved in large scale disasters like this. When individuals self-deploy, it’s impossible for organizations to adequately plan for and support everyone.

Instead, find local opportunities to volunteer your time or volunteer through official signups.

Give blood

Blood is always in high demand after natural disasters, and donating blood is an easy way to help someone in need. Find a blood donation center near you.

Stand together

While there are practical ways to help with immediate needs, what is also greatly needed is unity. Right now, there is a lot of fear. People have lost their homes and their livelihoods. Families have been separated and loved ones lost. Lives have been torn apart and financially ruined.

They need to know they’re not in this alone. Pray for them. Be gracious and generous to all as we try to cope and do what we can to help each other pick up the pieces.

In times of crisis, we see the true spirit of mankind. It transcends our differences and the things that often divide us, bringing us together in solidarity. It will be a long road to recovery, and we need each other now more than ever.

As we all try to lend a hand, know that every little bit of kindness matters.

About the author

Nick Sloan
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Nick Sloan is the director of emergency management for Baylor Scott & White Health. He provides strategic guidance, consulting and expertise to the organization in matters involving homeland security, emergency management, public health and public safety. He also represents the organization in several capacities at the federal, state and local levels. He is a member of the Governor's EMS and Trauma Advisory Disaster Committee for the state of Texas and chair of the Regional Emergency Preparedness Committee. Nick served in the U.S. Marine Corps and now volunteers his time with nonprofit organizations benefitting veterans of the Armed Forces.

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How you can help Hurricane Harvey relief efforts