Our brothers and sisters need our help and though it is good to pray for them, we must also act. The foundation of Christianity is charity and as James 2:26 tells us, faith without works is dead.
The devastation suffered in Houston and the rest of the Texas coast will not be overcome for years – but it will be overcome. Though homes have been destroyed and lives shattered, hope remains and so does love.
Hurricane Harvey had the potential to destroy the spirit of America by hitting Texas with a gut-shot of destruction that is not often seen in this country. This potential was quickly proven a failure, however, as ordinary people raced to the aid of their fellow man.
On the call of the authorities who were overwhelmed by the scale of the destruction and losing precious time needed to save lives, ordinary citizens dropped everything and headed toward the destruction.
Hauling their boats behind them, the “Texas Navy” and their spiritual brothers the “Cajun Navy” came from all over Texas and Louisiana to rescue helpless people who had been trapped in their homes by the unprecedented flood waters. Their presence undoubtedly prevented many deaths. But they weren’t the only ones answering the call to help.
Celebrities are pledging huge sums of money to help with the relief efforts and that money will be needed. Sandra Bullock, Leonardo DiCaprio and even President Donald Trump have each pledged $1 million. Other celebrities such as Kevin Hart, Drake and DJ Khalid have pledged $25,000 each. Chris Young has pledged $100,000 and Beyonce has pledged to give an unspecified amount rumored to be in the millions to her hometown. And there are many more. But being able to give tens of thousands of dollars is not necessary to be able to help. And you and I have many resources available to join the efforts.
Writing is my passion and to not write on this tragedy in my adopted home would be unthinkable – but so would writing a philosophical piece while my brothers and sisters are suffering such devastation so close to me. I have dedicated this article to listing many of the amazing organizations that have stepped up to help our neighbors in their greatest time of need. My purpose here is to put a diverse list in one spot that allows everybody to find the group that touches their heart the most.
In my very first YouTube video, I said the primary purpose behind The Malone Effect was to effect massive positive change in the world by connecting people with passion for particular efforts to resources that allow them to contribute. What lies below is the most direct and immediate way I can do this – as time is of the essence.
I invite you, my brothers and sisters, to read on and find which organization grabs your heart, click on the link and then donate whatever amount you can to them. How much or how little matters not, nor does the choice of organization – it all needs to get done. So let’s do it!
The Knights of Columbus are dedicated to the Catholic calling to help those most in need. They have always been in the eye of the storm, providing much needed relief to those affected by Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, Matthew and many more in the U.S. Abroad, this noble organization raised $76,000 after the devastating forest fire in Fort Murray, Alberta, Canada and more than $860,000 to help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. 100 percent of the funds raised goes directly to the mission of helping those who need it most.
Catholic Charities of Houston are local and embedded in the community that has been devastated by Harvey. They focus initially on the primary immediate needs of families affected, such as food, water and shelter. As the recovery process moves forward, they focus on efforts to return the survivors to a sense of normalcy in their lives.
The Salvation Army has mobilized disaster teams from around the country and are prepared to help with the short and long-term relief efforts. They will be there for the long-haul to help both those affected by the storm, and also those amazing relief workers and first responders who are working day and night to help their fellow man. They offer not only physical relief such as meals and water, but also the emotional and spiritual relief that is essential for one to recover from such devastation.
The United Way maintains a disaster relief fund and will tap into it for Harvey efforts. However the scope of the devastation from this hurricane and flood will far exceed what they maintain. The organization focuses primarily on food and shelter for those who have lost everything and then moves to long-term efforts once those needs have been met. 100 percent of donations go directly to the relief efforts.
This organization was in action before Harvey had even made landfall sending supplies that would undoubtedly be needed during and after the storm. They have also committed to help more than 60,000 people who have been made homeless by the storm with hot meals. They will also be heavily involved in the physical cleanup process – an undertaking that is mind-boggling to even contemplate.
This organization already has two disaster-relief teams in Texas to help residents and are committed to helping long after the storm. They plan to have volunteer bases in Victoria, Rockport/Portland, Galveston/Santa Fe and two in Houston.
Mosques in Houston were among the first to open their doors as shelters but they aren’t stopping there. The mosques will stay open 24 hours per day and ISGH will continue to work to make sure those displaced by this storm have food, shelter and comfort. There is also an urgent care program ready to help anyone with immediate needs due to the storm.
Often in times of disaster, those who are most isolated before the storm become even more so after it, many times to their peril. The Montrose Center’s mission is to empower members of the LGBTQ community to enjoy healthy and fulfilling lives – and it is stepping up to help them rebuild those lives in the wake of this devastating storm.
A devastating storm like Harvey can be especially lethal to those among us for whom day-to-day living is a challenge all on its own. Portlight works to help and protect those with disabilities and also older adults. The organization is especially active in protecting the rights of those with disabilities when seeking help after a storm by ensuring sign language interpreters are available and also that civil rights of those most vulnerable to abuse and neglect are protected in the worst of times. There is also a hotline set up for requests to help disabled and older people: 800-629-4959.
Sadly, Houston had a large community of homeless before Harvey even developed and those people were particularly vulnerable to the storm. Now with relief efforts focusing on those who lost their homes, we must be vigilant to protect the most vulnerable among us. If we don’t do that – all of this is meaningless.
A conversation about protecting the most vulnerable among us cannot be respected if it doesn’t address those who do not even have voices to cry for help. Although there have been many wonderful stories and images of people opening their hearts to their fellow man, there have also been some incredibly shameful images of dogs – once undoubtedly considered part of the family – chained up and left to the terrifying fury of the storm. Animals share this world with us and they are no less affected by these tragedies. The SPCA has been on the frontlines of this storm relocating animals – both in shelters as well as those considered not worthy to save by their owners – from Corpus Christi, Houston and other affected areas to Austin. The organization will work long after the storm to find loving homes for these sweet and innocent beings who make our lives so full.
One of the smaller groups on the list – but one of the most in need of help – this shelter has already taken in more than 235 companion animals and is in desperate need of both money and loving homes for their new residents.
While researching for this article, I stumbled upon this goldmine of resources both for those who want to help and also those who have been affected. This list is extensive and far greater than I could hope to put together with my limited time so I advise you to visit and see where your heart leads you in regards to helping your neighbor.
Though the heartbreak of Hurricane Harvey is huge, the victory will be greater. But we must do it together. If what we’ve seen already from people is any indication – do it we shall.