Hurricane Harvey has been classified as one of the worst storms in American history, with some 30,000 people in need of shelter, and another 450,000 qualifying for federal assistance. Amid the devastating wreckage of the storm (the damage is estimated to cost up to $90 billion), it’s easy to forget about all the basic necessities so many Harvey victims are currently lacking, from soap and Band-Aids to diapers and clean underwear. But of course, these little, everyday things are essential for health and hygiene. Here are four types of items people in Houston desperately need—and how you can help provide them.
Matthew 25: Ministries brought first aid items and personal care kits (among other supplies) to Houston this week, and the disaster relief organization is asking for more basic necessities, including bandages and gauze, shampoo, toilet paper, sponges, and hand sanitizer. There are donation drop-off locations in Kentucky and Ohio, or you can donate a monetary gift online.
The Texas Diaper Bank is distributing diapers and pull-ups for babies, as well as adult diapers for disabled individuals and seniors affected by Harvey. You can order from the organization's Amazon Wish List, coordinate a diaper drive, or send your own boxes directly to the San Antonio-based charity. You can also make a financial donation here.
To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the HEALTH newsletter
Groups like Americares are bringing life-saving drugs and medical supplies to people in shelters who need them. Think insulin for diabetics, asthma and blood pressure medications, as well as tetanus vaccines. You can contribute to their efforts here.
In a video on Facebook yesterday, social worker and Rising Strong author Brené Brown, PhD—who is volunteering at NRG Stadium in Houston—highlighted the dire need for a piece of clothing we often forget to donate: “I’m going to ask you for what we really need, because this is not a community that needs things to be pretty or wrapped in a bow. We need underwear."
The organization Undies for Everyone is accepting financial donations for the purchase of wholesale underpants to distribute in Houston, or you can order from the organization's Amazon Wish List. "It's really a dignity issue. It's about smelling. It's about not getting clean. It's about not getting rashes," says Brown. ""I think we all know underwear is something we take for granted until we don’t have it."