Dear Valued Reader:
As the wrath of Hurricane Harvey sends devastation to Texans in Rockport, Beaumont, Houston and other cities, towns and rural areas and soon to be parts of Louisiana, my thoughts and prayers go out to all impacted by this awful storm.
It has now become a record-setting storm, hitting an all time rainfall record in the lower 48 states from a tropical cyclone (hurricane).
With Hurricane Harvey reforming in the Gulf of Mexico and making landfall in the hours ahead, the overall devastation has yet to be determined. What offers a ray of hope is the unity we see coming from the Texas neighborhoods where every day people are reaching out to neighbors, friends, strangers and those in need of help, encouragement, and bravery. They are working with first responders, police, rescue personnel firefighters, and even the "Cajun Navy" to pluck families from rooftops and ensure that others make it safely to nearby boats and ultimately dry land.
Like many others, I vividly remembered Hurricane Katrina in 2005. My friends were impacted by that awful storm. I was one of many volunteers who drove to a nearby Massachusetts air base to greet our soaking wet Lousiana guests in the middle of the night. Seeing the television images this week of those in the Houston convention center brings back those memories.
Below is a list of places where you can donate money and other items to help the people of Texas. And while we're thinking of their suffering, let's now forget the suffering of others outside of the United States who experience cyclones, earthquakes, mudslides and other natural disasters that only get a third of the television coverage that Hurricane Harvey is getting. Those victims need our concerns, too.
In the days ahead, may the sunshine replace the rain and may the spirit of neighborhood cooperation remind us that together we can unite in facing the challenges and obstacles in our nation.
Where You Can Help
The City Of Boston:
Mayor Marty Walsh’s announced a city-sponsored “Help for Houston” drive this week to collect clothing, toiletries, food, and other items to send to those impacted by Harvey. Contributions can be dropped off through Thursday, Aug 31st at the following locations:
Boston City Hall (3rd-floor lobby and 5th-floor mayor’s office lobby)
1010 Mass Ave. (5th floor)
Bolling Building (1st-floor lobby)
26 Court Street (1st-floor lobby)
10th Episcopal District Office of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME),
4347 S. Hampton Rd., Suite 245. Dallas, Texas 75232. (214) 333-2632. Make checks payable to the 10th District AMEC, Disaster Relief on the memo line. You will be able to donate online through our website www.10thdistrict.org later this week.
Please do not send clothes. But, for those who are sending water, diapers, baby products, personal hygiene products or cleaning supplies you can send to our two staging areas in San Antonio:
Bethel AME Church
225 North Swiss Street
San Antonio, Texas 78202
Dr. Raymond Bryant, pastor, Relief Chair
Emmanuel AME Church
1600 Semlinger Road
San Antonio, Texas 78220
Rev. Carl Garmon, Pastor
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner established a Harvey relief fund at The Greater Houston Community Foundation. The organization connects donors with a network of nonprofits and innovative solutions in the social sector.
GlobalGiving, which calls itself the largest global crowdfunding community, has a goal of raising $2 million for its Harvey relief fund. Funds will be used first for immediate needs of food, water and shelter and then transition to long-term recovery efforts.
United Way of Greater Houston has launched a relief fund for storm-related needs and recovery. The organization says it already maintains a disaster relief fund but anticipates the needs of Harvey will far exceed those existing resources.
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has also launched a Hurricane Harvey relief fund. The organization says its strategy emphasizes "investing well rather than investing quickly, addressing the greatest needs and gaps in funding that may be yet to emerge."
GoFundMe, the social fundraising site, has created a landing page that gathers the campaigns on its platform related to Harvey.
The Salvation Army says it is providing food and water to first responders and preparing for massive feeding efforts for residents.
Send Relief and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief says its teams began responding before Harvey made landfall and continues on-the-ground relief work.
Samaritan's Purse is accepting donations as well as volunteers for Harvey disaster relief for the coming months.
As well as the American Red Cross, local organizations accepting blood donations are Carter BloodCare and the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center.
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Carole Copeland Thomas is a 27 year speaker, trainer and consultant specializing in global diversity, empowerment, multiculturalism and leadership issues.