My best friend is a journalist in Beaumont, Texas. It’s not a big city. If you’ve ever heard of it, it’s probably been in the last few days.
Beaumont was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, receiving over 20 inches of rain on Tuesday, August 29. Few cities, if any, are prepared to handle that volume of precipitation in such a short period of time, and as one would expect, the city is totally overwhelmed. Thousands of people are without power and clean water. Many of these are people of color and/or those already struggling with poverty. The floodwaters may take days or weeks to drain off, and nobody knows when these basic services will be restored to the people who need them.
My heart breaks for this little city. I don’t know it well—I’ve only been there three times—but my friend tells me wonderful stories about the community. It needs a lot of help now, and it will for probably years to come.
The best way to help right now is to donate money to reputable national and local organizations. I’d like to ask you not to donate to the Red Cross or Salvation Army at this time. The former has a shoddy track record for using donated funds appropriately, and the latter is a religious organization that has enacted anti-LGBT+ policies at its shelters and distribution centers. (You can search the web for more info on this.)
Here are some places I do recommend:
United Way of Beaumont and North Jefferson County — An organization that supports and supplements local social services.
Southeast Texas Food Bank — One of the largest food banks in the area. Unfortunately, the water outage and flooded roads have forced it to shutter temporarily, but it will have a big role in the community in the weeks and months to come, and will need donations to keep up with the increased need.
SPCA of Houston — For animals displaced by the storm. Also check with your local SPCA to see if it is assisting; the Atlanta branch took in animals to make room for those that would come in to the Houston one.
Global Giving’s Harvey Relief Fund — This is a collective fund that will distribute its donations to local organizations over the next several months to help the communities recover.
Texas Diaper Bank — Supplies for the youngest victims of the natural disaster.
Undies for Everyone — This charity distributes undergarments to schoolkids in Texas, and is doing the same for victims (of all ages) of the hurricane. They have an Amazon wish list here and you can donate money here.
The Montrose Center — A Houston-area charity that provides counseling and other resources to LGBT+ people.
I’ll add more charities to this post as the crisis continues. Please donate if you can, or share this post.
Thank you so much.