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EDITORIAL: A city underwater

After massive flooding, Houston needs support to stay afloat


Houston is devastated. Hurricane Harvey rained 19 trillion gallons of water over southeast Texas, 42 inches in four days. When it stopped, 100,000 Houstonians were left without power, 35,000 people had fled the city, and 63 people were dead. To date, the total property and economic damage in Houston is estimated to be $50 billion. 

“This is going to be a massive, massive cleanup process,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. “This is not going to be a short-term project. This is going to be a multiyear project for Texas to be able to dig out of this catastrophe.”

It will be years before the people of Houston get back on their feet. They desperately need financial support. 

Houston needs our help. Even cash-strapped college students can lend a hand. 

Even if we did, with such a large-scale effort, some organizations may not spend the money given to them in the most efficient way.

Students should be careful about giving to any charity. The multitude of organizations providing relief can cause a headache for anyone trying to find the right one. There are always charities that are less than reputable. Some spend too much on staff salaries, money may go to waste or may be spent in the areas that don’t need it most.

These are all true, but you should not stop here.

If you are wary of giving to an organization, check Charity Watch, Charity Navigator, or Better Business Bureau. These three groups grade and rate charitable organizations on how much money goes to their mission, the organization’s transparency and expenses. If you are skeptical about a charity, these will help you determine if it’s the right one.

Houston has numerous, trustworthy local organizations on the ground (providing help) like the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, started by Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, or the Houston Food Bank. Even then, if you don’t have time to look for a charity, the Salvation Army is always responsible and reputable. The two have a long history of guiding relief efforts in large disaster areas.

Students saying they are strapped for cash can help. There are charities that will take canned goods, clothes, shoes, bags and water bottles. Anything and everything helps those in need. Many students belong to a group on campus that can hold a fundraiser, like a fraternity or sorority. 

Why not pair with other Greek Life or another group on campus to raise money? 

There are also students that may not belong to any group on campus. You can also help the people in Houston. A dollar or two will go miles to help.

Why not take a dollar you might spend at The Bird Bar and Grill on Thursday and donate it to a Houston relief group? 

We guarantee you will feel better than after a night out.

Our generation is sometimes stereotyped as self-absorbed, lazy, and only caring about instant gratification. 

Houston needs us and it’s not going to better after a few days of tweeting #Houston. Give money, give food, give clothes, give your time to something that will make a difference in someone’s life.

These people desperately need our help, not just our thoughts and prayers.