The appeals to help support victims of hurricane Harvey in Texas and beyond can be heard everywhere. The need is great now and it won’t go away once the rains and floodwaters subside.
I’ve already heard from members asking how they can help their park and recreation colleagues affected by this disaster, and I know finding the right outlet to help isn’t always clear or easy. As we hear specific needs from the agencies affected by Harvey, we will share them with the membership. In the meantime, here are five ways you can help those affected now.
Donate Money. The American Red Cross is a trusted and reliable resource to donate to in times of disaster. To donate more locally, you can see if park foundations in the area have started to collect money for disaster response, although, these opportunities may not come until later as infrastructure is reestablished. To see if the charity you want to donate to is reliable, you can check with the Better Business Bureau and Give.org.
Volunteer. Opportunities to volunteer will likely become greater as areas affected enter the recovery phase. The Red Cross accepts volunteers, but other places to look for opportunities include places of worship and local disaster relief organizations.
Donate Blood. The need for blood is almost always greater after natural disasters, but the need nearly always exists. Find a local blood drive here.
Open Up Your Home. If you live near the affected areas, Airbnb is waiving service fees until September 25.
Adopt a Pet. Shelters across the country are preparing to take in animals who have lost their owners due to Harvey. If you are unable to adopt a pet, you can donate to the Humane Society to help rescue effort and provide supplies to animals in need.
Natural disasters will continue to affect our field, but I encourage you now to support your colleagues affected by Harvey. We have strength in numbers, but our biggest strength is in our heart and character.
Thank you for making better communities and thank you in advance for supporting your colleagues across the country.
Barbara Tulipane, CAE is the President and CEO of NRPA.