The severe weather that affects much of the US has left at least 59 people dead across the South and millions in Texas without heat, clean water or electricity. Beyond the dire need for food and shelter, people will need help over the next several months to recover from their homes flooded by frozen pipes and other side effects of deep freezing.
Long-term needs will include rebuilding not only individual homes, but also infrastructure such as roads, bridges and water pipes, according to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. People with medical conditions, especially those who use oxygen machines and other equipment that run on electricity, and people who do not speak English are particularly vulnerable, the Center noted on its website. “As with most disasters, disaster experts recommend cash donations as they allow agencies on the ground to direct funds to the greatest area of need,” the Center wrote in its guide to responding to winter storms. . Here’s how to help: Donate to Highly-Rated Charities The Charity Navigator charity rating site has compiled a list of vetted national charities providing winter storm relief in Texas and across the South, and will continue to update the list. Organizations recommended by Charity Navigator include the American Red Cross, which operates warming shelters in Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia. In addition to money, the Red Cross requests that people donate blood. Also on the Charity Navigator list: Good360, Episcopal Relief and Development, Direct Relief, and Operation USA, an international disaster relief agency based in Los Angeles, which noted on its website: “In addition to supporting people In the worst affected communities, the best thing you can do today to respond is to reassess disaster risks in your own community and ask yourself: Am I prepared? Actions you take now could improve your chances of survival and facilitate recovery later. ” Find local groups working on the ground The pandemic has sparked the creation of mutual aid groups around the world. These neighborhood-based volunteer networks operate on the philosophy that people can help each other to meet their own basic needs. To find people who work in Texas, check out the Mutual Aid Hub. Texas self-help group lists have also circulated on social media with the help of celebrities like Alyssa Milano and in local publications like Texas Monthly magazine. Mutual Aid Houston accepts donations through a GoFundMe page. Community foundations, which make grants to nonprofits in a specific geographic area, are also a good resource for quickly finding organizations working on the ground. The Austin Community Foundation asked on Twitter that people consider donating to various groups, including the Austin Urban League and the Austin Disaster Relief Network. Communities Foundation of Texas, a Dallas-based community foundation, has established a fund that will support non-profit organizations with long-term recovery needs. And the Dallas Foundation has a list of groups, including many that help people in immediate need of shelter, who need cash donations but also accept warm clothing, blankets, and other items. Don’t forget about the indirect impacts and causes of climate disasters. About 80% of disaster donations occur within days of a natural disaster, according to research by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. But other needs emerge in the months that follow, including mental health challenges for people who have experienced disasters. With that in mind, consider spacing out your donations and saving some money to donate within six months. Also consider making donations that address some of the causes of extreme cold, such as climate change, says the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. Donating money for reforestation projects is one way; also consider “unconventional financing opportunities,” says the Center, such as urban forestry and zero-emission public transportation.