Harvey Situation Worsens — 5 Ways Kane County Can Help
Heavy rainfall today (Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017) is expected to worsen the flood situation in southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana in the wake of tropical storm Harvey, the National Weather Service reports.
The weather service’s first piece of advice to people in our area is do not attempt to travel to the affected areas in efforts to help friends or loved ones who might be trapped by the storm.
So, what can we do, how can we in Kane County help the victims of the devastation?
First, qualified Kane County emergency services personnel already are doing what the NWS says civilians should not — get down there and help with rescue efforts. Volunteers from northern Illinois also are part of the developing American Red Cross relief effort to provide shelter and food to residents affected by the storm’s destruction.
As a Kane County citizen who isn’t a trained and credentialed emergency services or medical professional, here are five ways you can help:
(1) Send a Text Right Now
The American Red Cross and the United Way are two of the main and most-reliable relief agencies.
You can donate to victims with a simple text. Text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation. You can also visit redcross.org or call 1- 800-RED CROSS. Click this link to make a donation to the Red Cross.
You can text a United Way donation using the word UWFLOOD to 41444 to donate to the United Way Flood Relief Fund.
(2) Give Blood
Another thing you can do immediately is give blood.
That’s probably not the first action that comes to mind, but except for a monetary donation, it might be the most effective way to have a quick positive impact.
AABB, which coordinates a task force to manage blood collection efforts during disasters, put out a news release on Sunday for blood donations in the aftermath of Harvey. Most in demand: those with type O-positive blood.
Those interested in donating blood may contact the following organizations to find a local blood drive and to schedule an appointment:
- AABB: www.aabb.org; +1.301.907.6977
- America’s Blood Centers: www.americasblood.org
- American Red Cross: www.redcrossblood.org; +1.800.RED CROSS (+1.800.733.2767)
- Armed Services Blood Program: www.militaryblood.dod.mil; +1.703.681.8024
Locally, Heartland Blood Center provides easy access and additional information.
(3) Make a Monetary Donation
Virtually every site or story you see advises that monetary donations are the most effective ways to help.
In addition to the American Red Cross and United Way, here are a few more reliable places to make a contribution.
Donations to support The Salvation Army’s Hurricane Harvey relief efforts can be made at helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
AmeriCares takes medicine and supplies to survivors. “For every $10 you donate today, we can provide $200 in aid — that’s the power of giving to Americares.”
Catholic Charities provides food, clothing, shelter and support services to those from all religious backgrounds. “With your gift, we can provide food, clothing, shelter and a network of support services to those dealing with the aftermath of this disaster from all walks of life and religious backgrounds.”
(4) Don’t Fall For Harvey Scams
Every dime that goes to a scam is a dime that doesn’t get to the people who need help.
And, of course, scammers are now using the Harvey disaster to trick people in clicking on links, on Facebook, Twitter and phishing emails trying to solicit charitable giving for the flood victims.
The major culprits and places to avoid:
- Facebook pages dedicated to victim relief contain links to scam websites.
- Tweets are going out with links to charitable websites soliciting donations, but in reality include links to scam sites or links that lead to a malware infection.
- Phishing emails dropping in a user’s inbox asking for donations to #HurricaneHarvey Relief Fund.
For advice on avoiding fraudsters, check out tips from the Federal Trade Commission.
You can also check if the charity is trustworthy by contacting the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
(5) Get Trained to Volunteer
Yes, there’s a big push right now because of the emergency situation. But the hard truth is that the real work of recovery comes after the headlines have long faded.
Kane County residents can help by volunteering for “fast track” training.
The American Red Cross in Texas has asked people to volunteer. The office announced on Friday that it would be training volunteers at their shelters through a “fast-track” course. The Salvation Army also announced it would be accepting volunteers to hand out supplies and food at shelters. Check for a local group in your area that is sending volunteers.
Volunteer Houston has launched a VIRTUAL Volunteer Reception Center to aid non-profits and agencies in finding and deploying people to hard-site areas.
SOURCE: CyberHeistNews, New York Times, ABC 7 News, Chicago Tribune, American Red Cross, Americares, Salvation Army, AABB, National Weather Service