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Hurricane Harvey: How You Can Help

on September 8, 2017

All of us here in Idaho understand the drastic effects natural disasters can have on people. We are no strangers to the destruction and pain they bring. Idahoans know the importance of coming together and helping a neighbor in need especially after a horrific event.

In 1980, Idaho was plunged into darkness when Mount St. Helens collapsed and erupted. The state was coated in around two inches of volcanic ash, which is composed of tiny shards of pointed glass and rock that form a concrete-like material when wet and can significantly damage a person’s lungs. Washington was immediately declared a natural disaster area, and Idaho was declared one the following day.

While the eruption and subsequent ash didn’t cause severe injury or loss of life in Idaho directly, it was a disaster of its own accord projected to have cost tens of millions of dollars in loss of business, clean-up, and vehicle damage. Thousands of residents also suffered lung damage from inhaling the dangerous substance.

We were incredibly fortunate to have not only recovered from these devastating events, but to have quite literally “grown” from them. Our state’s sense of community is unrivaled, and had Idahoans not banded together in these times of need, the damage could have been much worse.

Now, we have neighbors down in Houston experiencing one of the most horrifying hurricanes in American History. Many people are left without homes and the worry of loved ones being okay. What will come after the storm finally stops is a long, slow and expensive process to rebuild homes, communities and entire cities from the ground up. And that means donations will be greatly needed.

Let’s step up for our fellow neighbors in Texas. We’ve compiled a list of places to donate money and clothing. Be careful where you choose to send money, though. Tragedies like Hurricane Harvey tend to bring out both the best and worst in humanity.

Donating doesn’t have to be hard. You can donate to victims of Hurricane Harvey by simply giving $5 or $10 via text messaging campaigns, like the one Red Cross has created. To give specifically to the Red Cross, simply text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10. The charges will then appear on your next phone billing cycle. Other charities you can text or call include:

  • The United Way has also announced a way to text a donation: Text UWFLOOD to 41444 to donate to the United Way Flood Relief Fund.
  • Carter BloodCare covers hospitals in north, central and east Texas. To donate, call 877-571-1000 or text DONATE4LIFE to 444-999.
  • Donations to support The Salvation Army’s Hurricane Harvey relief efforts can be made at helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

Other than big name charities, there are several smaller organizations in Texas that can use your donation help, including:

Houston Food Bank

Food Bank of Corpus Christi

Houston Humane Society

Houston SPCA

San Antonio Humane Society

The Texas Diaper Bank in San Antonio is asking for diapers and wipes, which can be dropped off in person or mailed to 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, Tex., 78238.

As for which is better, time or money, both can be great options. However, traveling to a disaster area can be incredibly dangerous so money, for now, is the best choice.

Before you donate to a charity, make sure you know where your aid is going. The Center for International Disaster Information recommends checking with a charity monitoring organization like GiveWell, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or the Better Business Bureau before donating.

We at Mainstream understand the importance of sticking together and being there for each other. We also encourage you, if you are able, to donate money to these charities so the victims of Hurricane Harvey can get the help they need. Looking out for your neighbor is a way of life for us Idahoans. Let’s look out for our friends suffering in Texas.


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