houstonians helping now

Here's how to help Houston relief groups rushing to aid Hurricane Ida victims

How to help Houston relief groups rushing to aid Hurricane Ida victims

Crowd Source Rescue Houston truck flood Ida water boat
A CrowdSource Rescue truck and boat in action.  Photo courtesy of CrowdSource Rescue

On the same day that Hurricane Katrina struck 16 years earlier, Ida pummeled Louisiana’s coast for some 16 hours. The Category 4 hurricane, which ravaged the gulf on the afternoon of Sunday, August 29, was finally downgraded from a Category 4 Hurricane on Monday, August 30 by the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Winds reached 150 miles per hour, a tie for the fifth-strongest hurricane to strike the mainland U.S., according to the hurricane center. In Ida’s aftermath, one person is reported dead in Prairieville, a suburb of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, per ABC News.

The entire city of New Orleans was without power on Sunday afternoon; the city’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness cited “catastrophic transmission damage” for the power failure on Twitter.

Now, 1,000,000 Louisiana residents are without power, per CultureMap news partner ABC13. To assist, CenterPoint Energy has deployed more than 70 workers to the region, the company noted on Facebook.

“This thing is nuts,” Matthew Marchetti, founder of Houston-based relief operation CrowdSource Rescue, tells CultureMap. “We have people [there] on the roofs of their houses in 90-mile-per-hour winds.” Deep waters mean CrowdSource teams can’t get trailers into the area, helicopters can’t fly due to rain, and the flooding makes it impossible for light medium tactical vehicles to enter, he adds. “So they’re pretty much stuck.”

Still, Houston-based rescue teams are undeterred and are already en route and have mobilized to assist Louisianians. As was the case in Harvey, these local, independent groups are often first on the scene and even assist Red Cross and other workers who arrive later.

Importantly, these Houston groups are in need of financial support and the following items — either directly donated to their warehouses or via funds:

  • Generators
  • Chain saws
  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable food items
  • Diapers
  • Pet food
  • Toiletries
  • Bleach
  • Cleaning supplies

Houstonians who wish to help home-grown rescue groups that operate with low overhead and administrative costs can donate directly to the following:

The Relief Gang
Website: Angel By Nature
PayPal: reliefgang@gmail.com
CashApp: $RELIEFGANG1
Text: RELIEFGANG to 707070
Created by Houston rapper Trae Tha Truth and DJ Mister Rogers, The Relief Gang assists locals in need on a daily and weekly basis, as well as state neighbors during storms. Armed with a fleet of “some of the best monster trucks on earth,” Trae tells CultureMap that he and his team will work around the clock and sleep in their trucks.

The Relief Gang will also accept donations at a warehouse this week (check the site for updates).

Trae and his team worked through Harvey, Winter Storm Uri, and are committed to helping anyone in need. “We pay it forward,” he says. “You never know when we need help again, so we show up.”

CrowdSourceRescue
Website: CrowdSourceRescue 
Marchetti’s group became social media and media stars thanks to quick mobilization, delegation, and connection during myriad storms. A veteran of 18 hurricanes, Marchetti empathizes with his neighbors.

“We’ve had a special relationship,” he says. “Louisiana is one of the poorer states that’s had the crap kicked out of it for two years.” He adds that he’s especially concerned about the diabled and elderly as time drags, and that this storm could cost in the “50-billion range.”

Already on site, Marchetti’s group is accepting funds via the site and will host donations at a Midtown warehouse (check the site for updates). “We saw what happened with Katrina,” says Marchetti. “It’s our generation’s time to not screw this up —we’re not going to let that happen again.”

D.R.R.S.
Website: http://www.drrscorp.org/
Donate or volunteer: Call 833-999-2911 or email info@drrscorp.org
Boasting the motto “When no one else can,” this Baytown group was founded in the wake of Harvey and counts military, fire fighters, paramedics, law enforcement, and other first responders as members.

Through 19 tropical deployments, the Disaster Rescue Response Specialists team has rescued hundreds during natural and man-made disasters. Donations are appreciated; the group is especially looking for volunteers ready to deploy.

Hope City
Website: Hope City Online
Known for rapid response during disasters, this Houston-area church has already mobilized a “Convoy of Hope” in Northern Louisiana with 19 truckloads of relief supplies. “Mercy Chefs” will be providing food and water to first responders and the community.

Mutual Aid Houston
Website: Mutual Aid Houston
The BIPOC-focused group is committed to assisting lower-income locals who need aid quickly, without the hassles of the FEMA approval process. Now, the organization will assist Louisiana residents and is also a top resource to connect to BIPOC-focused groups on the ground in Louisiana.

Meanwhile, here in Houston, Gallery Furniture and Lakewood Church are hosting displaced Louisianans who need a place to sleep.

Kroger has partnered with Gallery Furniture in a program where customers can donate non-perishable relief bags at any Kroger store, or drop off donations at any Gallery furniture store. These donations will be delivered along with trailers of water later this week, led by Gallery Furniture’s flood vehicle.

Houston Food Bank needs volunteers to build disaster boxes containing crucial food and supplies. Morning, afternoon, and evening shifts are available; register online

Chris Shepherd’s Southern Smoke Foundation is prepared to assist food and beverage workers in the Gulf Coast in crisis namely by encouraging those workers to apply for emergency relief funds online — once they are able to quantify storm damage and need.

Space Cowboy at the Heights House Hotel will host a Hurricane Ida relief drive on Thursday, September 2. Participants are asked to drop off relief supplies mentioned above (no heavy equipment). Those who donate will receive free red beans and rice. Space Cowboy also is seeking volunteer drivers to help deliver the supplies to Baton Rouge on Friday, September 3. To sign up, email info@spacecowboyhou.com.

Market Square Tower downtown ( 777 Preston St.) is accepting relief items mentioned above (no heavy equipment; board games and children’s toys are encouraged) from 9 am to 6 pm now through September 2.

Additionally, ABC13 has rounded up a list of areas where Louisiana visitors can find food and water.

Speaking of Louisiana visitors, cherished Houston-based homeless youth shelter Covenant House Texas is helping to relocate and house 60 homeless New Orleans youth, as Covenant House New Orleans currently has no power. Covenant House Texas (1111 Lovett Blvd.) desperately needs monetary donations (donate here) or supplies mentioned above. Supplies must be new and can include:

  • Cots
  • Personal hygiene kits (toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, combs, brushes, nail clippers, soap, shampoo, conditioner)
  • Digital thermometers
  • N95 masks
  • Laundry detergent
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Pillow cases
  • Twin sheet sets
  • Blankets
  • Snacks
  • Bottled water
  • Men's boxer briefs — all sizes, any color
  • T-shirts – all sizes, any color

Exclusive Furniture has opened up all seven of their retail location and one distribution center as drop-off sites for drop off of toiletries, tarps, cleaning supplies, baby diapers, baby formula. Exclusive Furniture will also be donating:

  • 10,000 water bottles
  • 5,000 rolls of toilet paper
  • 50 twin mattresses
  • Additional toiletries (baby wipes, diapers, formula, & hygiene supplies) collected throughout the weekend Labor Day Drive

“We have partnered with a boots on the ground disaster relief non-profit, the Global Empowerment Mission [learn more here], and $10K of our proceeds from this Labor Day Weekend’s Sale will go directly to those most affected,” said Sam Zavary, CEO of Exclusive Furniture, in a statement.

Valobra Master Jewelers is partnering with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Foundation, the Harris County Precinct 1 and the St. Anne’s Catholic Community for a Hurricane Ida relief drive running through Wednesday, September 8.

Donations of supplies and non-perishable food (see suggesting items above) to the store (2150 Westheimer Rd.) will be transported directly to the New Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office and distributed by sheriff’s deputies to residents impacted by Hurricane Ida.

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CultureMap will update this article. 

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