Hurricane relief

File photo

Hurricane relief

Story By: LIZ FINNEGAN
9/7/2017


SUFFOLK COUNTY—The state of Texas is still reeling in the aftereffects of Hurricane Harvey and will continue to do so for many months to come. While we are all keeping an eye on the tropics and Hurricane Irma that’s currently spinning ferociously in the Atlantic, local residents and government agencies are doing what they can to help our neighbors in the South.

 Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone  announced that the county has joined with the American Red Cross of Long Island to create an online donation platform for all residents to aid the victims of Hurricane Harvey.  All donations will go directly to support emergency response efforts as well as for those still grappling with the devastation and flooding.

 “Long Islanders know all too well how Superstorm Sandy affected us all, and we will do whatever it takes to help our friends in Texas and Louisiana during this difficult time,” said Bellone. “I thank the American Red Cross of Long Island for their partnership and commitment to help those in need.”

 Neela Lockel, CEO of the American Red Cross of Long Island, said, “Our hearts go out to the hundreds of thousands of people affected by what is being called the worst flooding disaster in U.S. history. The American Red Cross is working day and night to get help to where it is needed most. Thank you to our dedicated partners in Suffolk County for supporting these efforts.”

 The donation page is operated through the American Red Cross and accepts donations in all denominations.  All funds donated will go to provide emergency assistance such as food, water, diapers, clothing and more.

 Hurricane Harvey has already set an all-time record for rainfall in the lower 48 states, resulting in the flooding of 50 counties and leaving more than 30,000 people displaced in emergency shelters.  As many as 13 million people from Texas and Louisiana have been affected by flood watches and warnings.

 For more information on the American Red Cross, please visit www.redcross.org

Meanwhile, the Town of Islip has issued a press release noting: “We received a recent communication from FEMA outlining some guidelines. At this time, FEMA is recommending cash donations, which allow voluntary agencies the flexibility to address developing needs of affected residents and businesses. Although it is very generous to donate used household clothing and items, unfortunately at this time, these types of donations would take workers away from providing direct services in order to sort, package, and transport these items. Please be sure that you are donating to reputable organizations to ensure that affected residents receive as much help as possible. The following are websites of reputable organizations that you can visit for more information: www.redcross.org, www.americares.org and www.helpsalvationarmy.org.”

FEMA is advising anyone interested in volunteering to contact the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) website for more information. Texas VOAD also has a list of vetted disaster relief organizations. The state of Texas is asking that volunteers do not self-deploy, as while it may be well intentioned, self-deployed volunteers may burden first responders.

“The Town of Islip asks that our residents please keep the people of Texas in their hearts and encourages your generosity at this time. The American people came together for us in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, and it is our turn to be there for Texas,” commented Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter.

If you have any specific questions regarding donating or volunteering, please feel free to visit FEMA’s website at www.fema.gov

Among the victims of the Texas devastation are many animals. The Suffolk County SPCA has been contacting SPCAs in the Texas area to offer  assistance during the catastrophic event in their area.  SPCA said they are hoping to raise money to rescue and care for the animals in Texas.  

Donations can be sent directly to Houston SPCA at www.houstonspca.org; SPCA of Texas at https://www.spca.org/gift/hurricane-harvey; Austin Pets Alive at https://www.austinpetsalive.org; Houston Humane Society at houstonhumane.org; and San Antonio Humane Society at sahumane.org.

If donations are sent directly to SPCA, please specify that the donation is for the animal victims of Hurricane Harvey.   All donations send to SPCA are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

The money will be used to: assist local rescue and provide temporary shelter to animals in need; help lost and displaced animals reunite with their homes and families; and help shelters and other animal-protection facilities in disaster-affected regions.

Donations can be mailed to: Suffolk County SPCA, P.O. Box 6100, Hauppauge, NY 11788-0099 or by logging onto the website www.suffolkspca.org.