Hurricane Harvey Relief
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which is still soaking southeast Texas and Louisiana, many folks are asking questions about what they can do to help. Robert W. Radtke, president of Episcopal Relief & Development provides the guidance below, as well as a way to sign-up now to volunteer when needed.
Hurricane Harvey – What Can You Do to Help?
Now is the time to offer financial support. Contributing to Episcopal Relief & Development will ensure that we have enough resources to support the work of our church partners as they serve the most vulnerable in their communities. They are best positioned to assess needs and timing for response efforts.
One of the immediate ways Episcopal Relief & Development and our partners help individuals is by handing out gift cards to local stores so that people can choose what they need the most. It not only affords people dignity it also helps stimulate the local economy, which needs to recover post-disaster. Learn about the other ways we assist during the three Rs of disaster here.
The best approach is to wait until those affected have indicated what kind of support is most needed and whether they are ready to house and utilize volunteers. Inserting ourselves at the appropriate time alleviates additional stress and complications that can actually make things worse. If you think you would like to volunteer please register with Episcopal Relief & Development’s Ready to Serve database. This list of volunteers will be shared with the impacted dioceses once they are ready to use and support volunteers. They will contact you if and when they need help.
My firm recommendation is DON’T DO IT. I can’t tell you how many piles of discarded clothing I saw in parking lots throughout the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. After major disasters, diocesan staff have limited capacity to receive, store or distribute donated goods. Here’s a great article about the challenges of communities receiving donated goods:http://www.npr.org/2013/01/09/168946170/thanks-but-no-thanks-when-post-disaster-donations-overwhelm
An effective response requires us to discern what is most helpful and appropriate at any given time. Let’s continue to hold those directly impacted in our hearts and prayers throughout their recovery, long after the media images fade.
- Ready to Serve Volunteer Database
- Make contributions to Hurricane Harvey Response Fund
- More information: Episcopal Relief and Development’s response to the hurricane