7 Ways You Can Help Houston That Doesn't Involve Donating Money

by Lani Seelinger
Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

After any natural disaster, the calls for donations inevitably start rolling in. And while that is certainly the easiest and sometimes the best way to help out, it's just not a possibility for everyone. There are, however, plenty of ways to help Houston if you're struggling financially, and for the most part, you don't even have to be in Texas.

It's impossible not to feel upset when you look at photos from the aftermath of Harvey. After all, it's a natural disaster on a scale entirely of its own. The damage that Harvey wrought is unprecedented — and the clean up process is likely to take years and billions of dollars. If you have a heart, you want to help — and there's always a way to do so, even if it's not with a donation.

Even if you have a very limited amount of cash to give to one of the organizations helping the victims of Harvey, it will be much appreciated. Before you give, though, make sure to check out Charity Navigator or a similar website, just so that you'll know you're not giving your hard-earned money to a scam. And if donation simply isn't an option, then rest assured that you can absolutely still help out.


Open Up Your Home

If you have an extra room in your house and you're even vaguely close to the areas affected, Airbnb will help you find an evacuee to fill that room. With an estimated 30,000 people displaced, every extra room counts. If you weren't already an Airbnb host, you can register and list your space especially for this purpose. If you happen to be in San Antonio, you can also sign up to house Harvey victims through the Jewish Federation of San Antonio.


Foster An Animal

If you actually want to adopt a pet, it costs a lot of money. But if you just want to foster one of the hundreds of animals stuck in shelters after Harvey, the shelter will usually set you up with the material that you need to do it. Austin Pets Alive! is one of the shelters seeking foster owners who will be able to take care of the pets until they can find their forever homes. They've already received too many material supplies to store everything, so offering your time and love to a pet in need is the best thing you can do in this case.


Donate Food To Places Still Asking For It

Donating food, clothes, and supplies willy nilly isn't always the best in a disaster relief situation, because charity organizations know best what they need, and random donations often don't fill their needs — plus they require time and energy to sort.

If you still really want to donate food, though, going through a reputable organization that lists exactly what it needs is an excellent way to make sure your donation goes into the right hands. Houston Food Bank is currently soliciting donations, and you can trust them to help their community in any way they can.


Donate Your Airline Miles

If you fly Southwest regularly and you've got some miles saved up, consider donating them to the cause. Donating directly through Southwest will give you the option of sending your miles to one of two organizations: American Red Cross and All Hands Volunteers. Other airlines are also getting in on this game, but from the other side — United Airlines and American Airlines are giving out bonus miles to anyone donating to the Red Cross and a couple of other organizations on the ground.


Send Diapers

The Texas Diaper Bank is still soliciting donations of diapers, and they're trying to make it as easy as possible for you in terms of shipping. You can ship diapers directly to them, or if you can use the Amazon wish list they set up for the purpose.


Give Blood, From Anywhere In The Country

You don't have to be near Houston to donate your blood. The Red Cross is accepting donations across the country, and this is the ultimate cost-free donation. You probably have the blood to spare, and you'll even get free food after you donate. If you've thought about it but been squeamish in the past, now's the perfect time to jump over that hurdle. If you've ever given blood in the past, you'll remember how much good you're doing — one donation has the potential to save three lives.


Volunteer Your Time And Energy

If you have time on your hands, then taking a trip down to the Gulf Coast could be possible through one of the organizations putting together volunteering trips to help in disaster relief. You could end up doing anything from cooking for evacuees to assisting in the clean up, and your help will be welcome in any situation.

Hopefully, this list has given you some ideas on how to donate creatively. And remember, there's still time to get moving on this or to think up new ideas. While the disaster relief efforts are already ongoing, they won't be stopping anytime soon — so you'll still have time to jump in for a while.