Want to help Harvey Affected? Don’t donate to the Red Cross.

Helena Fogarty
Aug 28, 2017 · 4 min read

Houston is underwater. The water is still rising. 450,000 could seek disaster assistance. 11 trillion gallons of rain has already come down on Texas. 56,000 calls to Houston 911 in 15 hours. Around 13 million people are under flood watches and warnings stretching from Corpus Christi to New Orleans as the remnants of Hurricane Harvey menace the already drenched Texas and Louisiana. And the hurricane is expected to pass over Houston again in a few days.

This is an insane, mind-boggling disaster. People are suffering… and recovery is going to take years. We all need to help. But how?

DON’T DONATE TO THE RED CROSS. Donate to organizations that will be on the ground helping people get back on their feet.

My favorite organization that is helpful to disasters around the world? Team Rubicon. They are an amazing organization that deploys veterans to disaster zones. These people are on the ground, salvaging belongings and helping people.

Other great options are donating to local organizations and churches that can help people immediately in the areas affected, with very low overhead.

Why am I anti Red Cross? Experience. And Data.

As a resident of the Rockaways, we were made homeless by Hurricane Sandy. It was the first time of my life that I didn’t know where I would sleep, and we also had my 18 month old girl with us. Every day, we went back to Rockaway to salvage our belongings and do what we could to save the house — without electricity, running water, or heat — and it was below freezing some days. We saw a LOT of media. And we saw a lot of amazing volunteers and organizations from around the world that helped the people on the Rockaway Peninsula. (Thank you!)

We did not see the Red Cross. Oh wait, except for on TV — you know that big concert with Bon Jovi that raised over $300Million for Hurricane Sandy victims. That money that was very slow to be distributed and some of which was moved to other areas of the country after the Red Cross determined that no more help was needed in the Rockaways.

(BTW — Our neighborhood is still rebuilding and still has abandoned, crumbling houses — almost 5 years after the Hurricane. Many people I know did not receive any aid. The ones that are back in their houses? Many paid to rebuild without any payout from insurance, or funds from FEMA.)

Others concur about the lack of Red Cross efforts in the wake of natural disasters. A friend who was displaced by Hurricane Irene says “They (Red Cross) gave us a mop with 1 mini snickers and Tylenol. Which inspired much laughter in my neighborhood. A mop? There was LITERALLY 5 feet of water in my house.”

Another affected by Hurricane Sandy says “The mop they gave me was broken.”

Additionally, the media has covered how BAD the Red Cross is at natural disaster relief.

During Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, 40% of the Red Cross Relief Trucks were diverted for public relations (ie, providing a clean truck to appear in the background while officials speak)

25% of the funds raised to help Hurricane Victims in Haiti was used for internal expenses

So where should you donate?

Team Rubicon was excellent after Hurricane Sandy and is on the ground in Texas now.

Here are 2 lists with other great options.

How to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims (Slate)

Hurricane Harvey Charities That Work (VOX. please skip over the Red Cross plug and choose from the other organizations.)

Let’s get started helping the Hurricane Harvey Victims rebuild their lives. They are suffering. Let’s make sure that our donations reach them and make a difference.

Helena Fogarty

Written by

I’m a water woman and entrepreneur. When I’m not in or on the water, I’m hard at work making the best swimwear ever at MI OLA.