ATLANTA — There are two main ways you can help victims of Hurricane Harvey: your money or your time.
The hurricane caused unprecedented flooding in south Texas that has left tens of thousands of people homeless. More rain is expected in the coming days.
Federal officials warn that many people will be out of their homes for weeks or longer.
During natural disasters, relief experts generally don't want to see thousands of people rushing to the affected area. Although it may be well-intended, an influx of people can add to the congestion and tax already overburdened law enforcement. Unless there is a special call-out, relief organizations may not want you to bring in things like clothes, toiletries or household items. The money to transport and store items may be better spent.
If there is a need, perhaps you can volunteer to help pack boxes and collect water and other supplies for hurricane victims.
For instance, early Monday more than 60 volunteers were at MAP International's Brunswick, Georgia, offices to prepare 750 disaster health kits. The organization provides medicines and health supplies to those in need around the world. It also provides disaster relief.
MAP is teaming with Convoy of Hope to provide 1,250 kits, which include soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other essential items to help prevent the spread of disease. Each kit is designed to help meet the needs of one person residing in a shelter for one week. More kits are planned.
MAP is accepting donations to provide disaster health kits. Donations can be made online.
If you want to help, make sure you donate to a reputable organization. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers help in evaluating whether an organization meets the necessary charities standards.
The American Red Cross has launched a massive response to Harvey's aftermath and needs financial donations to be able to provide immediate disaster relief.
To help people affected by Hurricane Harvey, go to the organization's website, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
The Red Cross honors your wishes as to where you want your money to go. Donors can designate their donation to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts by choosing that option when donating.
If you would like to volunteer with the Red Cross, you can visit redcross.org to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.
Since most of these organizations are being inundated with phone calls, they suggest people go to the websites for further information about ways to donate.
Here are some other organizations that are providing help.
Samaritan's Purse mobilizes staff, equipment and volunteers to provide emergency aid to victims of natural disasters in the United States. The organization also often comes in to rebuild or restore homes for needy families.
The international organization provides help in a variety of areas -- disaster relief, fight human trafficking, alleviate hunger and poverty.
National VOAD is an association of organizations that provide aid and alleviate the impact of disasters and foster more effective delivery of services to communities affected by disaster.
Habitat for Humanity has nearly 25 local offices throughout the parts of southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana affected by the storms. The organization is assessing the shelter and housing needs in areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey and developing response options.
Donations can be made online or by calling 1-800-HABITAT (1-800-422-4828).
The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund supports work by local, vetted, established nonprofit organizations responding to the storm. GlobalGiving guarantees that your donation will be used for Hurricane Harvey response and donors will get regular email updates outlining how funds are being used.
Donors can also text HARVEY to 80100 to donate $10 to GlobalGiving's Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Message and data rates may apply. Send a check by writing "Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund" in the memo line and mailing it to GlobalGiving, 1110 Vermont Ave. NW, Suite 550, Washington DC 20005.
- The Tri-City ValleyCats will donate $1 to Red Cross for each ticket sold between Monday and Saturday.