Hurricane Harvey – How Can Roanoke Help

Coast Guardsmen fly displaced residents in a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter to a collection point following severe flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Aug. 28, 2017. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Johanna Strickland. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.
An aerial view shows significant damage caused by Hurricane Harvey in Rockport, Texas, Aug. 28, 2017. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm McClendon.

We’ve all seen the non-stop TV coverage of the terrible devastation in Texas from Hurricane Harvey. If you’re like most people you’re probably asking how you can help. Fortunately there are several ways to get needed items to the people of Texas and others who are going through one of our country’s largest natural disasters ever. We’ve compiled a short list of resources that will help you determine how to get involved.


If you’re one of those people that just have to jump in and help there are many ways to get to Texas and roll up your sleeves. In most cases you shouldn’t just jump in a car and drive to Houston. The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) says when too many volunteers show up it puts a strain on the ability to help others. Volunteers need food and shelter just like the victims of this disaster.

NVOAD recommends filling out the volunteer information sheet FOUND HERE. When the need for more volunteers arises you may be contacted by NVOAD directly or AmeriCorps.

FEMA is also seeking volunteers and the agency needs them now. Click here for more information.


Not everyone can pack up and head south after a natural disaster. If you’d like to help in a tangible way The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website has the following advice.

Cash donations to recognized disaster relief organizations are the fastest, most flexible, and most effective method of donating. Organizations on the ground know what items and quantities are needed, often buy in bulk with discounts and, if possible, purchase through area businesses which supports economic recovery.

In some cases donating money to help the relief effort is as simple as sending a text.

Donate to the Salvation Army by texting STORM to 51555. (click the number to text on a mobile device)

Donate the United Way of Greater Houston flood relief fund, which will help with immediate and long-term recovery, by texting UWFLOOD to 41444. (click the number to text on a mobile device)

If you’re looking for another charity and you’re worried about donating to an organization that isn’t reputable check out the Charity Navigator page dedicated to Hurricane Harvey.


A Texas Army National Guardsman carries a small boy on his shoulders during flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Aug. 27, 2017. Army National Guard photo by Lt. Zachary West

If you’re interested in donating teddy bears, food, water, sheets, and other needed items listen to the experts. The rescue operation is still underway and now is simply not the time unless you know of a reputable non-profit that is currently collecting those items. Remember, according to FEMA and other relief organizations the best donation right now is cash. Money, in the right hands, can provide exactly what is needed at this very moment.

As a final thought please remember that it will take years to recover from this disaster just as it did in New Orleans. What the people of Texas need now is not what they will need in a year or two. When the news cycle moves on to something else there will still be plenty of ways to help those in need.

Elliot Broyles
Executive Director
Market Building Foundation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *