Yesterday Adam and I were incredibly gung ho to drive to Houston to help. After we made our initial plans, I started researching specifically where supplies were needed to be dropped off. I spent all day pouring through articles and websites and this is what I found out:
1. The number one thing that is being put out there is for people to NOT drive towards Houston. For obvious safety reasons as although today the rain is finally letting up, there are still rising flood waters. So many roads are damaged that even if they have opened, too much traffic will make them worse. They are also trying to get everyone away from the city and unrequested volunteers keep needing to be rescued.
2. Shelters in Houston are for the most part not taking donated items and are in fact trying to get evacuees to San Antonio, Austin and Dallas, where mega shelters are being put together. The only places accepting donated items in Houston are not accessible safely from Austin.
3. So many people respond to the news when a disaster happens and then forget about it a week later after the news cycles. In a case like a hurricane, the clean up, rebuilding and shelters will be needing help for many months to come, and the outpouring of donations and volunteers tapers off pretty quickly so we all need to try and pace the help out. The red cross even put out announcements over the news and radio that they have enough volunteers at this time, for everyone to please wait as there would be plenty to do to help after the flooding subsides.
4. Money is the most needed donation in the long run. I am a fan of the Central Texas Food Bank (centraltexasfoodbank.org/) and The Salvation Army (salvationarmyusa.org/) as both are reputable and can allocate the funds across the affected areas and the latter can also help Louisiana as they are now getting the storm.
SO. We are not in Houston. We are still collecting list below and will drive everything most likely to a closer donation drop off location as 7,000 – 10,000 evacuees are coming to Austin over the next few days. We will go to Houston after a family trip we have long had scheduled for next week and help with the clean up and rebuilding efforts as that is where the bulk of the help will be needed. The last thing we wanted to do was to cause issues by our trying to help.
Here is what we are trying to collect:
- Most Needed Food Items
- Canned tuna or chicken, packed in water
- Canned stews and pasta/meat, easy on salt and fat
- Peanut butter
- Packages of dried beans
- Canned fruits in light syrup, natural applesauce
- 100% juice cans or boxes
- Canned vegetables, tomatoes, tomato sauce
- Soups with meat and/or beans, meal-in-a-can, easy on salt and fat
- Cereals and cereal bars, easy on sugar and fat
- Pasta, spaghetti, macaroni, noodles
Also smaller items from this list
- Cases of Bottled Water, Powerade, Gatorade
- Feminine Products -Tampons, Pads
- Baby Items – Diapers, Wipes, Powder, Baby Bottles, etc.
- Bleach, Lysol, Clorox Wipes, etc.
- Mops, Brooms, Buckets, etc.
- Contractor Bags, gloves, surgical masks, etc.
- Soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, razors, floss, feminine products, deodorant, etc.
- Paper Towels, Kleenex, Toilet paper, etc.
- Dog and Cat food
- Flash lights and batteries
- New Pillows, sheets, towels, and air mattresses
- Duct tape
- Plastic storage bins
NO TO THESE:
- Open packages
- Homemade food items
- Perishable foods
- Baby food
- Items with “expired” dates