Work the phones and help hurricane evacuees find help this weekend

Have you heard of 2-1-1? It’s like 4-1-1 except that it offers free, statewide, 24-hour access to health and human services and disaster information through its multilingual helpline.

As you can imagine, it’s a great resource for people all over southeast Texas who are being displaced by the hurricanes. They call to find out where to find shelter or food, how to get help moving special needs people, even how to get help moving pets.

Thanks to Gustav, the 2-1-1 line had a 300% increase in volume of calls over one weekend. And hurricane season is not over yet. You’re heard of Ike, right?

There are a couple of ways you can help:

The first is to make a donation to 2-1-1 so they can get the folks and other resouces they need to serve the people displaced by Hurricane Ike.

The second is to VOLUNTEER YOURSELF in Austin this weekend. There will be training, and all you need to get the job is the ability to care about people and help them find their way. If you’re bilingual, you’re especially needed. Just register with United Way Capital Area to get started.

OR if you are interested in becoming a Disaster Response Volunteer for 2-1-1 Texas, call 2-1-1 or email Kimberly Blackburn.

Thanks for your help!


Hundreds in Austin Shelter need your help now

Central Texas Red Cross just sent out an email asking for volunteer help in their shelters. This is a great opportunity to go over there and spend some helping out. 

We need shelter workers. 

Are you available????? 

Volunteers are needed for the 6AM – 6PM shift and for the 6PM -6AM. Volunteers are needed Wednesday, September 3 – Sunday, September 7 (Must be at least 18 years old).

To volunteer, please call 512-929-1200 or 512-928- 4271. Or email

Thank you in advance for serving your community! 

Kim Landry, Director of Volunteer Services, American Red Cross of Central Texas

I called and found out more:
1. Mostly they need support for their managers on-site. You would help serve food, answer questions, register evacuees, etc. 
2. Training would be “on the job” style. 
3. They need volunteers at the Delco location. See more about the shelters here. 
4. To volunteer, you should probably register online first. The site gives you the instructions. Once you’ve registered, they’ll call you. 
CenTex Red Cross will take calls until 7 p.m. tonight, but if you register online now, expect a call tomorrow. Thanks in advance for your help!

Click here to help Midwest flood victims

Salvation Army affected by Midwest Floods of 2008

I’m reading about how the floods in the Midwest may effect meat prices – corn and soybeans grown there are grown to feed cattle. For some of you, the immediate thought is how that will affect people and nonprofits already on the edge of being able to afford meat at all. It’s the gas crisis on the table.

Maybe it’s just me, but since September 11, there seems to be one disaster after another, right up to the floods in the Midwest. It’s estimated that 35,000 people have been displaced and everyone in the area is dealing with toxic water teeming with raw sewage, farming chemicals, and whatever was in the toilets, basements, refrigerators and buildings across thousands of acres of the Midwest. Most of us can’t imagine what it’s like to be flooded out of our communities and homes, but we want to find an easy way to help.

(NOTE: I don’t think there’s any shame in looking for an easy way to help. In gift-giving it’s the thought that counts, but when you’re giving to people in need, just thinking about it isn’t enough. It’s the job of the nonprofits to make it easy for the rest of us to make a difference in someone’s life.)

Here are some organizations that are helping Midwest flood vicitms – and who accept donations online (how easy is that?):

American Red Cross: You can choose to give specifically to the disaster relief fund.

Adventist Community Services: This is the humanitarian-aid arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Click to donate and choose whether you want to give open-ended cash or cash for a specific need like clothes or water.

The Salvation Army: The organization is also helping in China and Myanmar now. Easy online form.

AmeriCares: An organization that helps worldwide. Has shipped more than 200,000 bottles of water to the Midwest so far. You can direct your donation so U.S. disaster relief specifically.

Consider, also, giving directly to the local chapters of some of these organizations. Look for them in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Missouri.



Who does the Red Cross call?

This past week’s storms knocked the power out for thousands of Austin Energy customers and probably damaged just as many roofs, but while the rest of us are calling our insurance agents and wondering how we’re going to pay that deductible, the Red Cross of Central Texas is, too.

The emergency-aid agency was busy all last week helping Central Texans navigate the storm, only to find out its own building on Manor Road had been damaged, too. Here’s a note from their Web page:

“We always expect to be the ones giving assistance to others,” said Derrick Chubbs, executive director. “But now we find that not only do we need help assisting our community, we need help to repair our own building so we can stay focused on our mission.”  The Central Texas chapter of the American Red Cross serves nine counties. Consider making a donation today.