Like most American’s we have been watching Hurricane Harvey devastate Houston with unrelenting force. Now that the flooding has begun to recede it is time to switch from rescue to recovery. For millions in Houston and the surrounding area, their lives have been turned upside down, and many no longer have a home to return to. For them, their problems are not over. Do you want to help? Here are three ways you and your business can assist the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
1. Donate Money
I know that giving money feels like the easy way out but in all honesty, this is the best way to help the victims in Houston. When a crisis like this occurs normally, we feel the sudden urge to rush to our pantry to find canned food items. So many small businesses will consider a canned food drive. Which yes is very generous of you but the majority of food people donate has been sitting in the back of their cabinet left uneaten and is usually past its expiration date.
At this point, many of you might be thinking “well at least it was free.” Well, not really, consider that like you others are donating canned food and someone has to pay to haul all of that food down to Texas. So no it’s not free. Also half of the food donated last year did not meet basic nutritional standards. Consider what you feed your family? Probably fresh fruits, veggies, lean meats and such. However, these are of course perishable.
Simply put holding a canned food drive is not the most efficient way to give to those in Houston. By donating money to local charities such as the American Red Cross and Catholic Charities USA they can buy food at wholesale levels and turn that $1 can of soup into exponentially more.
2. Donation Essential Items
What items would you need after losing everything? Prescriptions, clothes, hygiene products, and so on. These items take cold hard cash to replace, and for many, they need money to buy these items. Work has been disrupted, and the insurance will be slow to pay for any losses especially because of the sheer volume of people impacted.
Check with local charities before you start rummaging through your old clothes and find out what items are needed. People love to give things because it seems like you are doing more than simply writing a check but often it’s better to hold a fundraiser and send the money. This way they can then spend the money accordingly to what they need.
However, still ask about diapers, formula, food, hygiene supplies, water and other items that could be harder to come by. Ask first then gather.
3. Make Charity a Part of your Businesses Mission
When a disaster like this is so widely covered many businesses quickly step up to the plate, but charities help out in quiet ways all year. Use your fundraiser for Harvey to start an annual tradition at your business. There will never be a time when there are no natural disasters, and there will always be people in need of your help.