How to Help Those Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Aerial shot of the eye of a storm, a large, swirling, white cloud, image used for Robert Peters blog about how to help those affected by hurricane harvey

When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, it led to widespread destruction and quite a few deaths. It was a disaster on a scale that Texas hasn’t ever seen before. Flooding occurred in the city and in many miles of the surrounding area, leading to numerous people evacuating and having to be rescued by emergency professionals. Though Dallas wasn’t buffeted like Houston, the entire state feels the repercussions of the hurricane and wants to find some way to help out, much like the rest of the country. Here are some ways to help those affected by Harvey and continue the process of healing for Texans.

Volunteer your time

Immediately after a hurricane, there’s often a need for trained professionals who have skills that can benefit local groups trying to help the community. Any help is good help, but make sure you find somewhere that actually needs volunteers and you fit the necessary qualifications before heading to Houston to help. Volunteers are vitally important, but immediately following a disaster, the people that are needed the most are those with experience to handle emergency and disaster situations.

Like many of us saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, rebuilding efforts take years. If you aren’t qualified or do not have the opportunity to provide assistance shortly after Harvey, there will be plenty more opportunities to volunteer your time and help out the community. Groups will be working on rebuilding the city for a long amount of time, so plan ahead and find a time to offer help to make sure those devastated by the hurricane are not forgotten.

Donate to a great charity

If you decide to donate money, you want to make sure it’s to a reputable charity. Utilize Charity Navigator to research the legitimacy of a charity before sending them money; you want your donation to actually be used to help Harvey victims. If you choose to donate to an individual, make sure you do your research first to determine whether or not it’s a legitimate person in need. After a natural disaster, monetary donations usually do the most good because unskilled volunteers can make the situation more difficult to manage and too many unnecessary items leads to waste.

Donate goods

I know I just mentioned that donating goods after a natural disaster can lead to waste, but there are some items that are actually needed. Before simply sending items you think are needed, do your research and find a charity that’s specifically asking for different items. Then, buy those items. The goods most commonly needed are food, clean water, pet supplies, and medical supplies.

Raise awareness

If you’re unable to donate your time or money, simply raising awareness can be hugely beneficial to those in need. Share articles with up-to-date information and suggestions for where to donate. The more people that are aware of the channels to make donations through and how to help out, the better.

6 Qualities of Great Community Leaders

Community leaders who have the potential to make change require a certain set of skills in order to reach their communities’ objectives. A community leader’s job is a difficult one and without strong leadership qualities, it can make the job that much harder. The list below highlights a few of the more prominent skills needed to enact change, bring people together, and ultimately make changes for the greater good.

Self Awareness

Possessing the ability to know yourself, your strengths, and your weaknesses, provides you with an understanding of how to lead yourself and others. Knowing yourself also helps you identify when you need to ask for help and where you can improve. Being self aware allows you to take on projects you know you can handle and provide consistent and powerful leadership.

Honesty & Integrity

Honesty and integrity play an enormous part in effective leadership. If you are not honest or operate with integrity, people are going to notice and no longer follow your lead. As a leader, you want to be an exemplary member of the team. Trust from the community you’re serving and the members of the community standing with you will gain traction for your initiatives.

Teamwork

Teamwork should go without saying, but it can be easy to get bogged down with delegating work and leading from above. Having the ability to step back and see when you are getting too bogged down in leadership “busy work” is vital. You will need to work alongside and in the trenches with those who are following you. Teamwork pride grows comradery and general morale.

Forward Thinker

Forward thinking is another key characteristic of an effective community for a few reasons. Thinking ahead is helpful to mitigate future issues and setbacks. Additionally, as a community leader you are not looking to make temporary changes. You need to think years ahead to continue to help the community for the long haul.

Interpersonal Skills

To be an effective leader you need to be an effective communicator. You will have to give direction and guidance to the people following your lead. Conversely, you will be called to communicate the needs and wants of a community to people that have the power to set funding or laws in motion. Interpersonal skills also show your strength in collaborating with other to achieve common goals.

Ability to Organize a Group

As a community leader, you are not going to be able to do everything yourself. You are going to have to organize a talented group of likeminded people together. Rallying the troops for change can be a daunting task, but possessing the skill to excite potential help will ultimately make you and the cause you are fighting for successful.