According to Gaila Demel, Executive Director of United Way of Central Kansas, her office has received emails and phone calls inquiring about local procedures, if any, for donations to the relief efforts due to Hurricane Harvey.
“As always, the generosity of our communities reaches out to those in need. Many residents in our area are directly affected by this catastrophic incident with family and friends living in Texas and Louisiana,” she said. “It was humbling this morning when I opened my email and listened to voice messages asking....How can I help?”
The United Way of Central Kansas encourages donors and others that want to lend assistance to the affected areas, to directly reach out to United Ways of Texas and Louisiana Association of United Ways. These organizations have already begun to establish local disaster funds and coordinate the volunteer structure.
The American Red Cross, Salina chapter, reports as of Sunday evening, more than 40 volunteers from the Red Cross Kansas, Nebraska, Southwest Iowa Region are already on the way. “Getting help in some areas will be challenging for some time due to devastating floodwaters and closed roads,” said Becky LaPolice, Red Cross Executive Director for Central and Western Kansas. “This is a heartbreaking and challenging situation for those in the storm’s path and the Red Cross is working around the clock to provide safe shelter and comfort for the hundreds of thousands of people impacted by this disaster.”
More than 1,800 people took refuge in 34 shelters over the weekend. Numbers in shelters are expected to grow dramatically and dozens of additional shelters could open in the next few days. The Red Cross has enough shelter supplies in Texas to support 28,000 people, and enough supplies on the way for an additional 22,000 people. Nearly half of the Red Cross national emergency response fleet has been mobilized, including 5 vehicles from the Kansas, Nebraska, SW Iowa region. The Red Cross is also mobilizing its disaster partners to support feeding, child care, disaster assessment, and other disaster services.
The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by Hurricane Harvey by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.
Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster. The Red Cross honors donor intent. Donors can designate their donation to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts by choosing that option when donating on redcross.org or on 1-800-RED CROSS. The best way to ensure your donation will go to a specific disaster is to write the specific disaster name in the memo line of a check. We also recommend completing and mailing the donation form on redcross.org with your check.
Meanwhile, Barton County Emergency Manager Amy Miller said the Kansas Food Bank and the National Guard have been put on alert to provide relief. However, Texas has not requested help through the FEMA administered Emergency Management Assistance Compact, a mutual aid agreement between state emergency agencies.
A call for volunteers won’t likely happen until folks in Texas get to the recovery stage after Harvey, Miller said. This may take some time.
But, they will need help, “for weeks, months, even years following this incident,” she said.
Other groups in the coming days and weeks will likely mobilize, and requests for donations will follow. The United Way of Central Kansas encourages everyone to be informed about the association they might choose to help.