Hurricane Check-In?

Houston/Texas/Gulf Coast Readers, are you safe & dry? Are you unsafe and wet? Let us know what’s up with you.

For everyone else: Friend-of-Blog and Texan Andrea Grimes compiled a list of local organizations that could put donations to good work on the ground in Texas here, if you want to help but don’t know where to start.

I’m in the special heck that is building syllabi and course websites all week, as we’re back to school next week. Posting will be light but I’m reading/moderating. ❤


65 thoughts on “Hurricane Check-In?

  1. Thanks to Andrea for the list and to you for passing it along! I have been looking for places to donate that focus specifically on PWD/seniors (for work) and this is exceedingly helpful.

    1. I usually log in via Twitter, but that’s misbehaving right now; I’m still the same OtherBecky as always.

      For folks who want to help but can’t afford to give cash, Team Rubicon is a veterans’ group that does disaster response and rebuilding. My sister works for a nonprofit that helps coordinate response groups, and she’s a big fan of theirs. If you have Southwest Airlines rewards points, they’re using donated points to get their teams to the Houston area. You can donate here.

    1. Will do, bydabayou, this has to bring back some scary memories. Fingers crossed for safety for you and your flock.

    2. I get volunteer emails from Austin’s nonprofit shelter. They’ve been in rescue mode with people driving to Houston to pick up animals, fosters taking in extras, conference rooms filled with rescues. We’re doing our best for our sister city’s pets here.

  2. Safe but wet over here in South Mississippi. We are getting lots of rain but no where near Houston amounts. I think we’ll be fine. Since I am semi-close to Houston, also throwing out the offer to any Akwardeers who might be fleeing through this way: I can house small and/or exotic pets if folks need it. I have a dog-reactive dog so can’t take pups or kitties, but husband and I have experience with turtles, snakes, lizards, and small mammals. If it is a cage/tank pet that needs a place while you evacuate give me a shout via twitter – @attyheatherm.

    1. That’s very kind of you ! I worry so much about the animals in situations like this. Although we no longer live on the Gulf Coast, we did for quite some time, and I remember how scary and damaging just a glancing blow from a hurricane can be, let alone New Orleans 12 years ago or Houston right now.

      Prayers and hugs for those who want them.

  3. Whatever you do, please do not treat these relief organizations as a dumping ground for your old clothes, books, toys, unopened soap you decided not to use, etc. There may be a clear and known need for in-kind donations, but all too often, relief efforts for these sorts of disasters get gummed up with people’s old junk – people need to receive it, organize it, and find a place to store it until it can be distributed, and a lot of it ends up getting destroyed because no one needed it. Monetary donations really are the best way to help right now, it can help buy whatever is needed, when it’s needed.

    1. 100%. Money can be turned into things that are needed and doesn’t have to be transported, stored, cleaned, etc. Donating stuff is for orgs local TO YOU who need that stuff.

    2. Totally agree!

      Can I make a plug here for a great faith-based organization that does long-term rebuilding work in disaster-stricken areas? Mennonite Disaster Service comes in after things have calmed down and often stays for a year or longer, helping families and communities rebuild homes and neighborhoods. While I totally understand the urge to donate to the Red Cross, food pantries, animal rescue etc. (and I have already donate to immediate-relief efforts), this will be a very long rebuilding and MDS is volunteer-run and doesn’t preach or proselytize. Link:

      1. OMG did I find another Mennonite on captain awkward. This made my heart happy. MDS will build houses for anyone. They will also make your dollars go really really really far. (They also sometimes have crews of Amish people – at least in Detroit, where a friend was a crew leader, they did – to build houses so you know that stuff is built right).

        1. Hi! Yes, I’m even a lapsed pastor’s kid. Generations of Mennonites. We’re everywhere. 🙂

          And yes, I have my issues with the church but MDS does it right.

          1. Im so happy to see this . I grew up Mennonite. Dont continue to go but their volunteer efforts are truly no strings attached . Just thr most amazing group of people!

  4. Houstonian here. Everybody in my circle safe. Not everybody dry or unaffected. Some of the flooding we expected: the bayous, freeways, and some of the streets are in fact part of our drainage system. But this…. There are no words for the magnitude of devastation here.

    I think the rains are finally on their way out and the city is starting to drain. Now we worry about the rivers and reservoirs. There’s a lot of secondary flooding that is hitting areas that escaped the first round of flooding.

    Thank you to everybody for your thoughts and prayers and whatever assistance you can send our way.

  5. I’m sure I heard on the BBC today that Houston is getting 2.5 to 3 times the amount of rain London gets IN ONE YEAR.

    I can’t even begin to comprehend that, but it at least brought it home just how big an event this is.

    I hope all are safe. I was going to write all commenters but stuff that, I hope everyone is safe.

    1. i heard yesterday that it was basically a normal houston year’s worth in a couple of days. probably surpassed that now. (before the texas-wide drought, this was kinda normal…we know flooding. much like new orleans does. but this beast was tricksy.)

      1. NPR was saying the same, that two days in some areas had received 9 months of rain. I can’t wrap my brain around that

      2. I’m in a Dallas suburb; a few days ago, our weatherman tweeted that DFW had gotten 28″ of rain the whole year, and that Houston had (at that point) gotten 20″ in the past two days.

    2. They got more rain during this storm than some parts of the US (excluding Hawaii, which gets some tropical deluges in the mountains) get in a year.

      And I’m not talking Death Valley. I’m talking places like Missouri or Tennessee, that get a decent amount of rain.

  6. hoo boy. safe in austin, my parents have been in from conroe since last thursday. i’m from houston so staying in contact with family and friends, they’re getting by. one set of friends had to flee their house quite suddenly. so far everyone i know has been lucky, found a place to stay if needed, etc.

  7. Houstonian here, thank you for asking! I am personally fine, but have many friends and family whose homes flooded or who are stuck with no way out of their neighborhood for now. It’s been extremely stressful and it is STILL RAINING.

    Most areas have gotten 25-35 inches of rain since Friday. We normally get 50″ per year. It’s overwhelming to think of how many schools, libraries, churches, restaurants and businesses have flooded and those who will be doing the bulk of the rebuilding will also have to rebuild their own homes at the same time. In just one suburb, at least one-third of the homes flooded. Where will all those people go? And we have dozens of suburbs, all with flooding issues; no part of the city was spared. I can’t even wrap my mind around it.

    I am extraordinarily lucky–my home and cars are dry, my husband and I are both salaried so we’re not losing income, our daughter’s school did not flood so she’ll go back next week (PLEASE LET HER GO BACK NEXT WEEK SHE IS DRIVING US BANANAS *ahem*). But there are so many that are not so lucky, and your thoughts and prayers are much appreciated on their behalf. If I hear of other ways the Awkward Army can help, I will let you know. Thank you and much love to all–

  8. Houstonian here, I am safe and dry, I can’t say the same about my car (but in the grand scheme of things that is pretty passable, really).
    There is no words that can describe the pain some of the people are going through. Pray, if that is your thing; donate, if it’s within your means; volunteer if you are able. Texas needs everything and anything you are able to give.

    1. I’m sorry about your car. 😦 That’s a bummer. Mine is in the shop, and they promised me it would be indoors and they’d never flooded before . . . but a lot of places currently underwater had never flooded before. Still waiting to hear from them.

  9. I don’t like it that TraitorRadio suggests only “blue staters and liberals” might say to Texas or Texans “I told you so.” Apparently, a blue stater liberal has said something offensive to the blogger, giving rise to his/her boundary setting. It would be a crappy thing to say, no matter where you live or what might be your political affiliation. Still as a liberal living in New England I am offended, to the point I won’t be sending out this link to all my blue state liberal friends. But, it’s a great list. Thanks for that, TraitorRadio (and Captain). I will be sending money to animal relief organizations, diaper org, and tampon org. (I, too, worry about the animals….)

    1. Traitor Radio is as left as they come – the writer is a liberal journalist who regularly raises money for abortion funds- and is talking about some ugly & condescending things left-leaning folks on the coasts say about the South and red states (which are full of the lefty activists doing the hardest work) but do what you feel as long as it helps Texas I guess? I know I am seeing a lot of smug, shitty “they voted for Trump what did they expect” comments from my fellow blue staters on my timelines and I don’t blame her at all for having a bit of a chip on her shoulder about it. She’s talking to liberals only because they are the only ones who would ever be reading her site in the first place.

      I am married to a Texan so I see what she sees:

      Liberal Chicago Person: “Where you from?”
      Mr. Awkward: “Texas”
      LCP: “Ugh, I am so sorry.” Or “Glad you escaped?”

      It’s gross enough when there is no hurricane on.

      It happens all the time where I can see it so what happens where I can’t see it?

      1. Thanks for the clarification re Traitor Radio. I read it all wrong too.
        How anyone can think this is the result of anyone’s voting for trump is beyond me. And no one deserves this.

        1. It’s literally no different than Christian extremists calling hurricanes and floods punishment for LGBT+ people and the acceptance of them. There’s never a justification to throw around blame in the wake of a natural disaster.

          1. The latest for this one is that the Houstonian lesbian mayor is the reason for the hurricane. It’s disgusting.

        2. Particularly because Houston is pretty liberal, particularly inside the Loop. We had America’s first lesbian mayor! And Houston is hugely diverse (the most ethnically diverse city in America by some measures) and you can sure freaking bet most of them did not vote for Trump.

          I mean on one hand I probably shouldn’t wade in muck that would be gross even if it were true. But it’s a bugbear of mine that Texas in general and Houston in particular is painted as some homogenous conservative hate zone. The right in Texas has been REALLY RIGHT for a long time (although a lot of the country has caught up or passed it–remember Texas did NOT go Trump in the primaries and was purple in polling), but 55% red is 45% not–in a state with tens of millions of people is still a LOT of progressives!

          But this shit is gross either way.

          1. All this.

            Plus, as liberals, our whole shtick is supposed to be “not being douches” and “helping people no matter what.” Even if those people made bad choices, they’re still human, they still deserve our help.

    2. Ditto. Especially since the only nasty comments I’ve seen have come from the GOP in the Sandy-affected states.

    3. As a blue-state coastal left-type person, I’m sort of confused that you’re offended by this. Maybe you only hang out with the highest caliber of people, but it’s not an isolated incident that “our people” snark and deride the people suffering in “red” states from disaster situations like this, it’s COMMON. I’m pleased for you if you’ve only encountered a small amount of it, but I’m pretty sure this is a “don’t assume things aren’t happening just because you haven’t heard of them” plus “if it’s not about you, don’t make it about you” situation. This is not a good time for #notallliberals.

    4. And many of us here did NOT vote for the Trumpet. And we have voted against our conservative Reps all our lives.
      As we all know, the pig would not have got elected if it wasn’t for the electoral college system.
      Not fair to paint everyone with the same brush. And it’s really shitty to kick people when they’re down.

    5. Can we please not #notallliberals or #notallnortherers?

      Yes, it would be a crappy thing to say. But people do say it, and things like it. They don’t stop to ask themselves whether anyone deserves what that storm is doing to Houston, they don’t even stop to think that children don’t vote or that even in very conservative areas, not everyone voted for Trump.

      As another liberal living in New England, I read TraitorRadio’s post, and realized that this isn’t about me. I don’t need to defend strangers who said something mean because they live in the same state I do and voted the same way I did last November.

    6. I live in Texas, in the Houston region, but far enough away that we are not experiencing any flooding. My husband served as the Democratic chair at our district’s polling place last November. He’s lived in our town nearly his whole life, and he said that even in our very Conservative-leaning town, Trump only won our polling place by a handful of votes. Yes, there are a lot of people here who voted for him, but there are also a LOT of people who didn’t. People who are just as disgusted by him as a voter in a more liberal “blue” state. Please don’t write us all off. Among other things, we’re fighting against voter ID laws and gerrymandering that are designed to work against us. Also, there are a lot of places where they can’t even get a Democrat candidate to *run* because the widespread thinking is “They’ll never win, not here.” I hope to God that that thinking will change come this 2018 midterm election.

      I totally get feeling frustrated by the state of our nation and the staggering number of people who seem to have *wanted* it this way, but please, don’t write us all off. Especially not now.

      1. So much of this. I also live in Texas (Austin), and I have been working my tail off doing political and activist work since the election. It feels really crappy to take a social media break from activist work and see a bunch of “neener neener, those Trump voters are getting what they deserve now!” posts.

      2. I honestly have so much respect for the good people of Texas who are fighting against voter disenfranchisement. I remember how close it was for you guys throughout the election season. Keep fighting the good fight; I know it can’t be easy.

    7. In my own defense, I did address the post to “blue-staters, coastal liberals and other potentially mouthy assholes,” in hopes of catching all the nonsense-droppers prone to snarking about people who have lost their homes. Share the link or not, but the assholery is real.

      1. Thank you to Captain, Andrea, and everyone else who posted helping me to understand the original post. In answer to one person, no, no one i hang out with would say something like that. I’m sorry Andrea or anyone else has been exposed to such hatred (hmmm, does bring up that “many sides” issue) and I am dismayed it exists. In my twenties I remember feeling a little vindicated when something similar happened somewhere in Texas or Florida when one of the Bushes was President. But I was young and stupid and my feeling was more about dislike of the President than with the people who voted for him. Besides I don’t see Trump supporters as deserving to be punished but rather needing education. I feel they have been duped.

        None of which has to do with a hurricane or people who have lost everything. In horrible natural disasters like this there are no “sides,” only people, human beings in need of our help. It really is a time to come together. May it be so.

  10. I live in a suburb off I45, near the county line between Harris and Galveston counties. The rain is finally letting up, still windy at times. The water keeps rising because they had to release water from reservoirs into already flooded bayous to keep dams from failing. So far my apartment is okay, but my car got flooded (had I known parking on the grass and higher sidewalks wad an option!) and I’ll probably lose my job because I am not going to drive through a flooded city to work for jerks.

    1. Ugh, I’m so sorry about the car and the job (what assholes are expecting you to risk your life to work for them?). What a mess.

    2. I didn’t get out of Galveston because my sociopath of a boss didn’t see fit to cancel till the tornado warnings hit. So, too late.

      And also spent the rest of the night hearing my husband argue with my BIL about how, no, really, you don’t know better than us whether it will be safe to drive the 2 hours it would take us to get anywhere even remotely out of the path. Normally I ask him that if he’s going to engage with his brother to take that shit outside, but in a tornado warning that seemed a bit insensitive.

  11. I live in Houston. We were so lucky. There’s was flooding all around us and my area took on 31-32 inches of rain, but we made it. Now the sun is coming out.

    If you’re looking for a place to donate money to, I’d like to suggest Texas Diaper Bank (so many people with small children have been displaced), the Houston Food Bank, and the Food Bank of Corpus Christi.

  12. Austin, safe and dry. Plenty of rain and a power outage, but no flooding in my part of the woods. My relatives in the Houston area are safe, too.

    Not necessarily flood related, but you might consider supporting the Lilith Fund–they pay for abortions for women who otherwise couldn’t afford it. My friends participate in their fundraising efforts, and I have an awesome VAGILANTES shirt from them.

  13. I live in Corpus Christi, and we are very fortunate to have escaped with minimal damage. We were under water boil advisory for a couple of days (but then, at the best of times, a flea could fart, and Corpus Christi would have to be put under water boil advisory. I live here, so I can say that). Some power outages and minimal structural damage.

    There’s people who live in cities just a few miles north of us, in Aransas and Rockport, who have lost everything. I’ve donated money to the American Red Cross this weekend. I’m hoping to give more in the near future, once I get back to work (return tomorrow), rent gets paid, and my finances stabilize.

    And what’s with blue-staters talking crap about Texas? Plenty of states north of the Mason-Dixon Line voted for Trump. Heck, there’s plenty of people in Corpus/Rockport/Aransas/Portland that I don’t like very much (Bouquets of African Violets had been handed out long before Harvey came along.) We were still checking on each other, making sure we were all safe. The only people that would wish a hurricane on someone either A) Doesn’t have the general knowledge or life experience to understand the damage a hurricane can cause, or B) is a sociopath.

  14. Safe and wet in Austin. Operations are a little touch-and-go in my housing because so many people got stranded on their vacations by the spotty airport traffic in Houston, and the universities are all reiterating again and again that accommodations will be made for anyone affected by the storm. One girl I know is still stuck in London until the end of this week earliest, and our classes start tomorrow.

    The coordinator of an event I did today had a moment of relief. Her grandfather had been stuck alone in his house in the Houston area and it looked like a boat was finally on its way to rescue him. You could tell looking at her how important and comforting that was.

  15. I am definitely not in the centre of the ring a la ring theory, but I am still struggling with all this emotionally. I lived in Houston many years and it’s the only place that has ever felt like home. I live overseas now, and was back for a visit supposed to be arriving the same day as Harvey. I got diverted to another part of Texas, and now I won’t get to see any of my family or friends in Houston, and they’re all in danger. so far, no deaths, but some were missing for over a day. I am really struggling with this emotionally, although I am trying to “dump out, comfort in”.

    I am also so, so heartbroken seeing a place I love destroyed. My old home completely flooded. My workplace. My favorite restaurants. It’s devastating me and I don’t even live there right now. I feel so bad for everyone who does.

    I am just so grateful the death toll is so low (statistically very low for the extent of the devastation). 15 (at current count) is too many but it could easily have been more than 10 times that.

    I am holding to that. Ultimately, everything else is just stuff.

    1. As someone in a farther outside ring than you, I offer jedi hugs if you want them. Your current situation is tragedy in its own way, and I can’t imagine how hard it is to try to “comfort in” right now with how your own heart must be tearing.

      I don’t have words to comfort you, but I will sit and hurt with you.

    2. You’re okay by dumping out here. That’s what the Internet is for.

      Sending you good thoughts (and going to send some diaper money to the charity someone listed above).

      1. Thank you, y’all.

        I am also trying to be useful. I went and gave blood this week, as they’re caling for urgent donations in all of Texas because of Harvey. I signed up to be on-call for shelter volunteering, but haven’t been called. And I’ve been offering moral support and communication support where I can.

        If you’re in Texas or a surrounding state and have place to put up displaced people temporarily, Airbnb is facilitating this in a free, supported way (under their insurance).

  16. I’ve never been to Houston, but I lived through Hurricane Hugo (South Carolina, 1989) and Tropical Storm Fay (Florida, 2008), and Harvey seems to have combined the most devastating qualities of both those storms, a Category 4 hurricane when it initially made landfall (like Hugo) and then just fucking sitting there and dumping rain for days on end (Fay).

    I have heard that in addition to cash donations, particularly to local organizations who can put them to use on the ground, donations of gift cards for national-chain gas stations or national big box stores or supermarkets that you know to have locations in the affected areas or generic Visa or MasterCard debit cards are useful right now, since a lot of people are still displaced and cannot yet safely go home to assess the damage and losses. Once people can go home and figure out what’s needed in terms of stuff, donations of specific goods might be more useful than they are at present, but some charities may be able to use the gift cards directly or distribute the gift cards to people who need to fuel their cars (and I’ve seen some photos of some fucking heinous price gouging on gas as well as other necessities like bottled water) or who need groceries or other stuff (like toiletries) at stores like Walmart or Target or even home-repair supplies at stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s.

    So that’s a thought, especially if you happen to have some gift cards already, or can easily get them. Publix, a supermarket chain based in Florida that has been expanding north and west into other southeastern states over the last couple of decades, periodically puts a coupon in their weekly sale circular with which you can buy a $50 gas gift card for $40 if your grocery cart total is over a certain amount (I think it’s $100, which is more than I personally generally spend at once at the supermarket, but I live alone; for someone who’s doing the grocery shopping for a multiple-person household, that might be a more reasonable amount to spend on groceries for a week or two), and Publix may not be the only supermarket chain to offer that sort of special.

    Hang in there, y’all in Texas and Louisiana and anywhere else that may end up affected.

  17. Only some clouds and the occasional sprinkle of rain in my Dallas suburb, but my National Guard husband is in that terrible “waiting to go at any moment” limbo. He’s been waiting around at his home-station base for two days now. They called everyone up yesterday, but I guess they haven’t actually organized enough to actually send them down there… He is Ready To Go!

    Honestly, I kind of want to go with him. I can’t afford to donate money at the moment, but I’m young and strongish and can sort through donations. We might go down in a couple of weeks once it’s a little safer and try to help out — the making-sandwiches variety, instead of search-and-rescue.

  18. Donated to Portlight a couple days ago– they help people with disabilities locate and access shelter and necessary services during weather-related displacement.

    All the gentleness to those of you who are are in harm’s way, or who have loved ones who are. I am so sorry this is happening.

  19. Really glad to see other Houston/SE Texas Awkwardeers checking in as safe!

    We had some minor roof damage and a leaky window, and we were unable to get out of the neighborhood for several days, but we were so, so fortunate. Never even lost power.

    I’d like to put in my plug for donations to places that help with *recovery*, not just relief. People want to help now, while the crisis is acute, but displaced people will need long-term help. I recently learned about BakerRipley (thanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda), which helps with long-term disaster recovery in this area:

  20. I kinda want to be like a “hey this sucks” line.. like.. someone (anyone) wants to tell folks what their gripes (I know this is an understatement.. I know) are regarding this goddamned storm, and people can e-mail or text with the gritty deets and we can be like– holy shit that sucks, just keep talking (what do you need? how can I help you for real?).. maybe?

Comments are closed.