The pictures and stories coming from victims of Hurricane Harvey break our hearts; it’s been over a week since the storm hit. For some of us, it might be easy to say a quick prayer and move on, but for others the storm is far from over. For approximately 25 percent of students, Harvey has affected their hometowns. For those of us not affected, there is still a lot we can and should do to help.
First, support your friends and those around you. With 3,972 students affected, it is likely you know someone who has been touched by the storm. As college students, sometimes we can feel helpless in situations like this. We don’t have a lot of disposable income or time and we may not have the means to physically go to the flooded areas to help. Our friends and classmates whose hometowns and families have been impacted feel those same things, but amplified. Check on your friends to see if their family and friends are OK. Ask your friends if there is anything you can do to help. It may seem small, but just knowing that people around care about you and how you are doing can go a long way.
Donate. There are plenty of churches and organizations, including Baylor, that are collecting donations to help people struggling in the storm’s wake. There are also several relief funds such as the Global Giving Foundation. If you are able, consider donating money. A lot of us may think, “What if it were my family? What would I want people to give?” but the truth is that many goods donated during disasters go to waste. Make sure to do your research before donating, there are several organizations to donate to and you want to make sure your money is going where you want it to. There are national organizations such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, local organizations like the Greater Houston Community Foundation, and specific organizations like Houston’s BARC Animal Center to help animals displaced by the hurricane.
Give blood. A regional network of blood donation centers is urging people to give blood to help meet the demand caused by Harvey. Aside from injuries, the storm has forced many blood banks in Texas to close, leading to the cancellation of blood drives. If you are able, donating blood is an easy way to help those affected. The Southwest Blood and Tissue Center is encouraging people to donate, you can find more information about donating and where blood drives are on their website.
Most of all, be intentional with everything you do. Encourage your friends to seek help in whatever ways they need. Baylor has a Hurricane Harvey Response website with information on how students can help on campus as well as resources for students who have have been affected by the storm. Be caring and loving. Remember that this is not over and show compassion to those around you.