The Gustavian Weekly

Helping in the aftermath of Harvey

By Jessica Hastings-Ereth - Opinion Columnist | September 8, 2017 | Opinion

On Friday, August 25, Hurricane Harvey landed on the Texas Gulf Coast.

The winds reached 130 mph. For reference, the world’s fastest animal, a cheetah, has a speed which tops off at 75 MPH, making the winds of Hurricane Harvey nearly twice the speed of the cheetah.

The hurricane brought 52 inches of rain, which broke the US record for rainfall.

During this short amount of time, 17,000 people were forced to seek shelter and 18 people have been confirmed dead.

These numbers are both expected to rise in the next few days.

In 2008 Hurricane Ike touched down in Galveston Texas.

My grandmother’s home outside of Houston had rainfall for over thirty days because of Hurricane Ike.

The storm caused trees to fly into her home, destroying the living room and bedrooms.

These damages cost thousands of dollars.

Ike was a Category 4 hurricane, just as Harvey was.

This means that the almost one hundred deaths, and hundreds of thousands of homes flooded, may happen again over the next few weeks.

ABC News writer J.J. Gallagher wrote an article, published Aug. 31, which states “Harvey’s torrential rain, devastating winds, and widespread flooding have so far cost at least 31 lives, driven over one million people to evacuate their homes in Texas and caused extensive destruction that will likely make it one of the costliest storms in U.S. history.”

The hurricane brought 52 inches of rain, which broke the US record for rainfall.

In response to the disaster, some of America’s famous actors, actresses, singers, and even my personal favorite J.J. Watt have donated millions of dollars to recovery efforts.

However, donating money is only one piece of this complex puzzle.

Many charities do not donate the full sum of donations, and many do not donate even 50 percent of what has been given.

The Red Cross disaster relief does not release the percentages of donations that are being used for the specific disaster, and this is not a new concept with larger charities.

Donating money is only one piece of this complex puzzle.

“The Red Cross seems to be struggling to respond to Harvey even as it can’t tell people how the money they’ve donated is actually being spent.

“All of this is part of a long, troubling trend with the Red Cross, which is one of the country’s most prominent charities” John Haltiwanger from the Newsroom states.

“All of this is part of a long, troubling trend with the Red Cross, which is one of the country’s prominent charities.”

Numerous articles state that this is not a new problem, as charities have long been refusing to say how much money really goes to the problem.

Forbes recently released an article about where you should donate and how to avoid getting scammed.

Smaller charities are the way to go to avoid scams and making sure that most of your dollar actually goes to the victims.

Being a college student means that few of us will actually be able to donate money to this cause, but there are many ways you can still help through non-monetary means.

The first is by donating blood.

The Southern Texas Blood and Tissue center needs more than 2,000 units of blood.

Blood drives are held often and there are several walk-in blood donation places in Mankato.

If every Gustie donated $5 to the J.J. Watt fund, we could raise over $10,000 that would go to the victims.

If you want to make sure your blood goes specifically to Hurricane Harvey victims, ask the phlebotomist who is taking your blood.

He or she may be able to tell you about the end site of your blood donation.

If you are too squeamish or cannot donate blood you should donate other things.

Food, clothing, medical supplies, and baby items are being asked for by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

The Texas Diaper Bank is also seeking diaper donations; you can donate online or you can send diapers in the mail.

Because over 22 percent of Houston lives below the poverty line, these donations are needed now more than ever.

So far, over two million meals have been distributed, but that is only going to last a short amount of time.

Because over 22 percent of Houston lives beneath the poverty line, these donations are needed now more than ever.

You can also donate toiletries and cleaning supplies.

Groups throughout Minnesota are going down to help clear debris and support affected families.

They will take these items down and make sure they get to the right place!

These are just a few of the many ways you can help the victims of Hurricane Harvey, so instead of sharing a facebook page, get out and help your fellow Americans.

You as an individual can do so much.

If every Gustie donated $5 to the J.J. Watt fund, we could raise over $10,000 that would go to the victims.

If every Gustie donated the average pint of blood that would mean over 950 liters of healthy blood could go to these victims.

Even doing the simplest thing, such as donating an old shirt, can help a person in need.

Please consider helping and say a prayer for all of those who are and will be affected by Hurricane Harvey.

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