In the aftermath of the costliest natural disaster to hit the USA in memory there is much that needs to be done to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.
The wrecked homes and lives this hurricane left behind will take years to fix, and many charity and volunteer organizations have pledged to stay in Houston for the long term to supervise and help in reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts.
All of the organizations working in Houston are dependent on financial aid, donated goods and volunteered time to help victims of Hurricane Harvey. This is where the donors and individual/ group volunteers are needed to step up and do their bit.
If you are planning to help out in Houston in any way, it is a good idea to first think through exactly what you want to do. You could start with the decision of making a cash donation, or in-kind donation or a donation of your time and expertise to help those who are in need of it.
The help victims of Hurricane Harvey need is wide-ranging. From fresh, hot food to clean clothes, non-perishable food items, a home closed to the elements, legal and medical advice, personal hygiene items, baby care necessities and medical supplies, some people need to start their life from scratch.
Do you have cash on hand that you can donate? Many organisations have committed to using all Hurricane Harvey donations to help the victims. Others have pledged to stay and help out over the next couple of years and need funds to make their stay as productive as possible.
Many church groups, food pantries, and other such smaller set-ups prefer to receive the goods they will be distributing. From household supplies like tinned and tetra-pack food to clothes, blankets, personal hygiene items and fresh produce they can cook-up, there is a long list of requirements. These groups often have the items required written out, so it’s a simple of matter of connecting them to know what they need.
Volunteered skills and time:
The help victims of Hurricane Harvey need is not restricted to goods. Many of them may be needing help in tearing down the hurricane damaged parts of their homes and getting it habitable again.
The victims may need someone to keep an eye on very young or very old family members while they themselves see to fixing things around the house.
Some may need legal advice on the next step as affectees of a natural disaster – you would be surprised at how many of them do not know their rights in this case.
Are you a dab hand with the chainsaw? Take it out and trim the fallen trees that are a threat to surrounding homes and people.
Can you pull up ruined flooring in homes? Do that for someone!
Is physical work beyond you? Charities are often looking for someone to volunteer at a desk job. Talk to them about something that you could do.
The time and money you spend volunteering to help victims of Hurricane Harvey can benefit you in taxation. The Texas comptroller has a page dedicated to Declared Natural Disasters And Emergencies Tax Help.
Further, IRS has announced special tax relief for leave-based donation programs set up by employers to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.
If you want to know how to to get your entire company involved in a volunteering opportunity, contact us here.
Comptroller Texas government