Unless you’ve been living under a literal rock, you’ve probably heard of the devastating damage that Hurricane Harvey has done along the gulf coast. Families have been uprooted and displaced, homes have been destroyed, animals and livestock separated from their loved ones, the list goes on and on.
It’s times like these where the entire nation simultaneously has this “well, what can I do” moment. Many, in response, have donated money, others have loaded up their boats and headed down to help, and some… well they changed their profile picture on social media.
Whatever your choice, we want to make sure you know the options available to you. It can be hard to know how to help in emergencies, so we’re going to quickly let you know what’s been done (specifically in the airline community), how you can help, and what you should avoid (like those horrifying floating fire ant colonies. Yes, they’re real.)
What’s Been Done
Both Houston Hobby and George Bush Intercontinental Airport have resumed limited flight operations as of Wednesday (8/30/17), but travelers are still cautioned to check with their air carrier before going to either airport. Larger companies (like Southwest Airlines) are expected to begin service again on Saturday.
Most airlines are waiving change and rebooking fees for customers flying around the storm, and some are even offering additional incentives for customers to donate to relief efforts (see below). Airlines have warned employees in the affected areas not to attempt coming into work. In fact, stories swirl about pilots who couldn’t make it to the airport and instead stopped to help people in their uniform.
As far as what airlines have done to help? See this list from The Points Guy. It chronicles the efforts airlines have already made to help, including ones like Alaska’s donation of $100,000 and 1 million miles to the Red Cross as well as its flying of relief workers at no charge to Texas airports that the airline serves.
If you’re looking to be proud of your industry, look no further than this list. It’s incredible how much these airlines have jumped in to help. For example, did you know that Southwest airlifted 486 stranded customers and multiple employees from HOU on five 737’s after the FAA shut down the airport and all roads leading to Hobby were closed?
How You Can Help
As stated above, many airlines are offering ways customers can jump onboard to help. American Airlines, for example, is rewarding customers with 10 AAdvantage miles for every dollar they donate to the American Red Cross (through September 24).
United has a “sliding scale” of miles available for customers who donate to Airlink, Operation USA, Americares or the American Red Cross (through September 15th). There are bonuses involved, depending on how much you donate. For United, you can also actually join us in donating to United We Care, their employee relief fund.
We’ve also contributed to the Southwest Employee Catastrophic Fund to help HOU-based employees affected by the storm, and you can too. One time donations can be sent here. On top of the funds listed above Southwest partners with Team Rubicon, All Hands Volunteers, and Toolbank USA.
General Monetary Donation
- Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund – Greater Houston Community Fund 501(c)3
- United Way Relief Fund
- Salvation Army or Text STORM to 51555
- Catholic Charities or Text CCUSADISASTER to 71777
- GoFundMe Hurricane Harvey campaigns
- J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans has a YouCaring fundraiser
- Global Giving Relief Fund or Text HARVEY to 80100
- Harvey Relief Fund – Texas Organizing Project
- Coalition for the Homeless
- Feeding Texas
Specific Monetary Donation
- Texas Diaper Bank – Provides diapers and supplies to families affected
- Portlight – Supports individuals with disabilities
- Direct Relief – Provides emergency supplies and health kits
- LGBTQ Relief Fund – Sponsored by The Montrose Center
- Houston SPCA – Animal rescue and shelters
- 4Paws Farm – Animal rescue, supplies and shelters
- Convoy of Hope – Provider emergency supplies and volunteers
- Adopt a Classroom – Sponsored by Teachers of Tomorrow
- Texas Library Association – Fundraiser to support flooded libraries
Donation of Physical Goods
- Hurricane Harvey Amazon Wish List – Sponsored by Dallas-based Merritt Law Firm
- Houston Area Food Banks
- Welcome Kits – Sponsored by Austin Disaster Relief Network
- Medical Supplies for Kids – Sponsored by Little Lobbyists
- Pet Supplies – Austin Pets Alive!
- Coastal Bend Recovery Group
- Undies for Everyone
Donation While Shopping Online
- Bookmark smile.amazon.com and choose a local/regional charity. Amazon will donate every time you make a purchase.
- Junior League of New Orleans Amazon wishlist
- Red Cross Amazon wishlist
- Texas Diaper Bank Amazon wishlist
- Refugee Services of Houston Amazon wishlist
- Animal Defense League Amazon wishlist
Partial list supplied by Kade Clark
What To Avoid
As natural disasters come about so do man made ones. Things you should avoid during this time include donating to fake charities or relief funds (do your research or use the handy dandy list we included above!), and putting yourself in immediate harm’s way (help is good, but not if you’re the one who’s going to end up needing help). That or causing a gas panic in the DFW metroplex.
For more information on things to avoid (like donating items people can’t/won’t use) please see this article.
That’s it for this blog. Until next time Interliners, please travel safe and keep your eyes on the skies!
Author: Emily (@ID90 Travel)
Emily is the Content Marketing Specialist here at ID90 Travel. An avid non-rev flyer (she grew up in the industry), and passionate private pilot, Emily can’t get enough of all things aviation. When not writing awesome ID90 Travel content she can be found on a Texas patio, being one with nature, or annoying her ID90T co-workers with her many, many, crowdsourcing questions.