Your Top Questions Concerning Our #HurricaneHarvey Response

By Taelor Duckworth, American Red Cross

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August 26, 2017. Victoria, Texas. Photo by Daniel Cima for The American Red Cross

Since Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast on Friday, we have seen an outpouring of generosity and support. We can’t thank you enough. We know you have questions, and we’re here to answer them. Disasters by their very definition can be chaotic. We hope you’ll help us share this information far and wide to get as much help to the people affected by this disaster in Texas and Louisiana.

  1. Emergency Needs and Services

    If you or someone you know is in a life-threatening emergency due to this storm, please call 9-1-1 or the United States Coast Guard at 281-464-4851 (4852, 4853, 4854, 4855). The professionally trained rescue crews are answering calls as quickly as they can. USCG asks that you remain calm, seek higher ground, safely mark your roof and safely try to alert teams that may be flying overhead to see you. Do not hang up if you get put on hold and keep trying.

    The Red Cross is providing shelter, meals and comfort to people impacted by Hurricane Harvey. If you need to find a location near you, please visit: redcross.org/shelter or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

  2. Volunteering

    Guys, we’re going to need each and every one of you to support our mission on this operation. Please know that we are working tirelessly to process all of the volunteer requests that we’re getting. We apologize for any delay or confusion. We’re so excited that you signed up, stepped up and want to help our fellow Americans. Our volunteer services teams have seen an overwhelming number of volunteers come out to serve. This is wonderful, and we are still trying to organize our now very large workforce. When you apply, we can see your record in our system, and a member of the volunteer services team will reach out just as soon as possible and can give you the most accurate and updated information. If you’re experiencing problems with redcross.org/volunteer, we ask that you be patient. With a disaster of this magnitude, all systems are running at maximum capacity 24/7. Continue to try and sign up. This really is the best and easiest way for our teams to process you.

  3. In-Kind Item Donations

    Right now, our primary focus is providing emergency shelter and safety to evacuees. For this reason, we need all available shelter space for the residents. The Red Cross isn’t equipped to handle small numbers of item donations because our focus areas are in providing shelter, food and other immediate relief to victims. For this reason, we rely on our partners to help with coordinating drop-offs, sorting and distributing items donated. We would encourage anyone wanting to donate clothing or other supplies to reach out to our community partner organizations who have stepped up to handle that immense and important task. As we continue to identify partners taking item donations, we will update this list.

    Dallas: Drop off location is 15660 N. Dallas Parkway, Dallas, TX 75248. Clothing in good condition, toiletries, hygiene products and nonperishable food items will be accepted.

  4. Text Donations

    If you are experiencing issues with text donations, please know we are working to resolve this as soon as possible. Here’s what you can expect: donations are still queued but the prompt to confirm the donation will not be sent until the outage is over. Instead of receiving a prompt to confirm the donation right away the donor will get a delayed response.

    If you attempted a text donation and nothing happened: We are sorry for the inconvenience – we plan to have our system back up and running as soon as we can. Once the outage is over, donors will receive a prompt asking to reply with YES or ZIPCODE depending on your carrier. No charges will occur until you respond. Donors will get charged only for those messages when you send the reply prompt. To avoid multiple charges, please only submit 1 response when prompted.

    As an alternative, you can donate online to help people affected by Hurricane Harvey by visiting rdcrss.org/harvey.

  5. Pets

    Pets are family, too, and we love your furry friends. We often can’t take pets in our shelters because of the safety of all residents. For this, we rely on community partners to help shelter pets while we shelter people. If you have a service animal, they are welcome. Please coordinate with shelter staff to let them know when you arrive. Check out how we’re coordinating efforts to make sure animals have a safe space, too:

    Dallas: Pets are being handled by the SPCA through Dallas Animal Services.

    Austin: Pet shelter is co-located at the Austin Evacuation Center, Wilhelmina Delco Center, 4601 Pecan Brook Dr, Austin, TX 78724

    San Antonio: San Antonio is accepting pet evacuees and human evacuees at 200 Gembler Road, San Antonio tx, 78219

    Houston: There are many shelters in Houston. Some have the capacity to accept pets and some do not. Please check this list to see where pets will be welcomed.

For other questions about the best ways to help after a disaster, see our tips for smart giving.

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