So Ya Wanna Help Those in South Texas…

So ya wanna help those in south Texas. Good! They need your help now and will continue to need it for weeks and months to come.

Turdy Lampson
Photos from a Houston nursing home taken by Judy Lampson.
The sad reality, though, is that while your pockets are deep today, you’ll soon move on to the disaster du jour and Texas will be forgotten, not unlike the victims of Katrina or Sandy were quickly removed from our minds. So while you are motivated, give, give some more, and do it now.

But who do I give to, and what do I give?

The what part is easy: give money. Don’t send your used underwear or unwanted cans of beets to Texas. That doesn’t help at all. I mean, nothing says to a person who has lost everything that you don’t give a shit more than to be offered your stained clothes and food you don’t want. Yes, furniture will be needed, but not today. Today people need to be kept alive. That means shelter. Food. Medications. Care for beloved pets and for livestock. That takes money, and while you’re motivated to give today, Big Pharma and other corporations will wait until they get a PR campaign together before they give a dime.  I STAND CORRECTED: This morning I heard Walgreens, Walmart and other corporations are donating items to the flood area. Good.

If you want to get rid of your used underwear, pack it up and donate it to Goodwill. And if they won’t take it, then it’s time to throw it away. Send Texas money.

Now the hard part: who do I send my money to?

First, who do you NOT send it to?

Don’t send to the small so-called rescue that is known only on social media and is promoted by “friends” that you really don’t know and always seem to be asking for money for somebody. Here’s a dirty little secret nobody likes to mention: scammers run in groups. And during a disaster, there are scammers everywhere. Stick to the tried-and-trued agencies with a good reputation.

Slate magazine posted this article for some ways you can help not only animals, but the homeless, persons with disabilities and those with young children. However, some of the charities they list seem to have little information about their financial accountability online.

marcorubio
photo posted on Twitter by Harris County Sheriff’s Office
When I check out a US non-profit, I use either Charity Navigator or GuideStar. At these websites you can find information about a variety of nonprofit charities. For example, the SPCA of Texas has a 4-star rating, with 80% of money going to programs and services, 9% going to administrative expenses and 10% spent fundraising. They’re overseen by an independent board of directors and are regularly audited.  GuideStar lists them as a platinum charity.

The Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group listed in the Slate article has no information posted at either site. Doesn’t mean they’re not reputable, but it does mean I can’t check them out, and I’d rather give to those with a traceable reputation.

As for the American Red Cross, they have taken a beating by the media for the past few years, but the fact remains they do have boots on the ground helping not only those who have lost all, but also those who are out there saving lives. And their ratings are excellent. You can give money and donate blood too.

So give money until it hurts and give it today, but do your homework and give to an agency that’s actually going to help those in need. 

 

 

 

32 thoughts on “So Ya Wanna Help Those in South Texas…

  1. Yep, give money. Because money can be spent locally to get what is needed I am about 100 miles north of the storm. First the emergency has to be dealt with and after that – long after that – The rebuilding can begin. There are emergency shelters for animals all around the Dallas area so that whatever animals can be saved from these floods can have a chance.

    1. I tried to post a video from Austin Pets Alive showing them taking in pets from those evacuated. It was a huge effort but they were ready and are doing a great job.

  2. Great reminder. I read that the Humane Society has feet there rescuing but it’s also good to donate to the local humane shelters in Texas no matter where you live. I know if the crisis were here, we would appreciate money from anywhere. Loved your comment on used underwear. It’s too bad you have to tell people that.

    1. I used to work at a group home for teenage girls and at Christmas we had to rummage through all the donations and discard the “gently used” bras and underwear that were donated. We donated to GoodWill where shoppers could choose to wear used underwear.

      1. When my mother died we donated most of her clothing to GoodWill. They did not want any lingerie unless it was brand new in sealed wrapping with tags still on. Not even nightgowns or bathrobes.

    1. I know this is a time of high emotions for all of us, and many of us feel helpless and want to do our part. Let’s just make sure we’re doing our part for those in need, and not those in greed.

  3. its awful whats happened there. i hope money donated reaches them quickly because here in the uk money donated to those left homeless by a massive tower block fire were still without donated money over a month after it happened. these were legitimate charities too such as red cross..

    1. Bureaucratic red tape extends to charities too, unfortunately. Just remember such onerous rules are in place because so many people try to cheat, thus keeping those in need from getting anything at all.

  4. If you want to do good and make sure your money is going where you want, check into local churches to see what they are doing and if they are housing people. Last year during the floods in Louisiana, my church took in the Red Cross overflow. Red Cross would send folks in need to us but they did little else because they wanted to send a trained person to headquarter us–which never happened. We were on social media and our texting network and we got more help from our members and our members’ contacts. Our culinary ministry cooked from our pantry and them from the donations that gave our 100+ guests hot meals 3 times a day vs the cold boxed sandwiches from the Red Cross. Also, RC cannot take food donations that are not on their vendors list. Another man who is doing a great job is Tom Joyner of the Tom Joyner Morning Show Radio program. He is making sure people who are housing others are getting help and that the money goes straight to those people.His contact info can be found at blackamericaweb.com. I would mention those organizations that house families with medical needs around the MD Ans=derson medical center area like Hospitality House Suites Apartments, Ballard House, Aishel House, and Church Apartment Ministry.

  5. I’ll be doing a short post tomorrow (Tues 8/29) … may I please LINK to your post here (with credit to you) so as not to be redundant about proper/appropriate giving and places that are legitimate … you can email me a yes/or/no answer please … Ann … at Zoolatry … zoolatry@gmail.com Thanks so much!

  6. I’m glad to see that animals are being rescued along with their owners, unlike during the Katrina debacle. It’s also interesting to see how some conservative politicians who were so averse to approve disaster funding for Katrina, Rita and / or Sandy are now begging for federal money to help Texas. Personally, I’d like to see a tax increase on the wealthiest 1% of Americans – starting with the Texas’ own Hunt and Walden families – to balance federal money coming to Texas.

    Meanwhile, as political mouths start flapping, Houston-area residents continue helping each other get to safety.

    1. Everything is political. Fortunately not everyone is. I’m glad to see animals cared for also. Katrina traumatized all of us in the loss of companion animals.

  7. Donated online to Texas Diaper and Salvation Army. I checked Texas Diaper. They do amazing work.
    Today I’ll donate to SPCA of Texas.

  8. I appreciate this post and all efforts to help educate others on where to donate.

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news though, but the bad press with the American Red Cross is warranted. My family was in NYC after Sandy in 2012 and their experience was that the Red Cross was mostly busy with photo-ops. I go into more detail in my own blog post (https://blindinjusticeblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/where-to-donate-and-where-not-to-donate/).

    Also, for the record, my parents said that faith-based charities did some great work in NYC after Sandy. I don’t know if that helps anyone, but I just thought on saying that.

    Once again, thanks for the post!

  9. Yes, Texas really needs prayer, my aunt and uncle live there, so I’ve been updated on everything that is going on. This post has reminded me that there are some people that haven’t been able to get out of there homes to a safer place. 😦 I’ll be praying.

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  11. That’s a Dickinson nursing home, not Houston. (A stone’s throw from where we live in Galveston county.)
    I do appreciate your efforts. You are right about so much here.
    You are right about checking with charities/fund raisers to make sure the money goes/is spent where you want it to.
    Always specifically state what event/disaster your donation is for – or it can legally be spent by the organization on anything they want. (As learned from Hurricane Katrina)
    Our local officials in Harris/Galveston counties said from the beginning we residents could not wait or count on anyone to show up to help – and local volunteers set up the massive regional shelters, staffed them, furnished bedding, restaurants sent food, volunteers sorted the donated clothes at the soccer stadium and kept the shelter’ clothing areas stocked, set up pet areas (It is against the law not to accept pets in emergency shelters or emergency disaster transportation in TX. Evacuations mean animals, too), medical centers(local docs) and children’s areas…..the Red Cross showed up 4 days later and after unpacking in their expensive hotels wandered over to the big shelter at the convention center and took lots of pictures with their logo blankets around people.
    Yes, the Red Cross immediately set up phone banks, but were totally unprepared AGAIN…although they are supposed to be the emergency and immediate relief.
    I cannot relay all the missteps, poor performances, and continual excuses the Red Cross gave. Again. Let’s see, one story: couple both in mid 70’s with 4 feet of water in their home – they spent 3 days in a shelter. Yet when they applied for the $400.00 emergency money from the Red Cross (who took 3 weeks to get their website functioning..”We were unprepared for this” really? What do you do in off season?), the couple was turned down and told they weren’t needy enough.
    Another? A small town doc put out a plea on social media for emergency supplies of water and medications for their little town that was flooded. The Red Cross was silent. A helicopter co. offered to fly for free to deliver supplies – the Red Cross said, “Oh, no thanks” There next day, the desperate pleas went out again from the local doctor and the RC said “Oh, we have a truck coming”…then in following days it was “Oh, we can’t get through” “The truck has been delayed” “Oh, we don’t know where the truck is…” Shortly 4 old boys with pick up trucks loaded water and basic supplies in their trucks and dragged their competition barbecue smokers behind them and had no trouble getting through and fed the town for days….the highway dept was assisting people with routes on how to get to areas and from one place to the other constantly. But the Red Cross was so busy with their phone banks.

    The Salvation Army was there….and the local and average people who came to help. We thank them.
    Ordinary people are quite amazing.

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