By Paula Walter

Many of us remember the horrific flooding in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina hit with a vengeance in 2005. There was Hugo who walloped South Carolina in 1989. Once again, another hurricane has decimated yet another southern state. Harvey tore through Houston, Texas, this past week, dumping an astonishing 51 inches of rain in Cedar Bayou.

I can’t begin to imagine how terrifying it would be to evacuate my home, seeking a safe place to stay until the hurricane moved on and the rains stopped. Once that storm passed, it could be days before I could return, only to walk back into my home and find it has been destroyed by water. I can’t imagine trying to go through the remains, searching to find the box that held our children’s prized projects and family pictures. I can’t imagine only having the clothes on my back and somewhere along the way I lost the shoes on my feet. I can’t imagine the destruction flooding could cause. It’s been estimated that approximately 70 percent of home damage caused by Hurricane Harvey won’t be covered by insurance.

Below are suggestions for how you can help the people of Houston, Texas and the surrounding areas. Keeping in mind it seems like there are scams everywhere, I have complied a list of places offering assistance that appear to be legitimate. Before you donate, please do a bit of research and make sure the company is truly legitimate.
Second Harvest Food Bank is collecting disaster supplies to send to Harvey’s victims. Donations are being accepted online at www.no-hunger.org. On the main page, you can click through where it says “How to help Hurricane Harvey Victims.” The Second Harvest Bank located in southern Louisiana has been helping victims in Louisiana and the roads have just become passable to deliver relief to those in the Houston area.

Feeding Texas is also accepting donations to help those affected by the hurricane. They are providing food boxes, shelter meals and cleaning supplies for those impacted by the storm. You can read more at https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/harvey-food-relief.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the most effective way to help hurricane victims is to donate money to trusted, charitable organizations. They do not recommend donating items such as clothing or food items at this time. Donations to faith and community based organizations are suggested.
Charity Navigator is a non-profit organization that has rated over 8,000 charities. Some of their suggestions include Global Giving, Samaritan’s Purse, Heart to Heart International and Direct Relief. Remember to do a little checking to make sure the charity of your choice is legitimate.
We all need to look after one another.