Groups, clubs offer ways to help after Hurricane Harvey

Last weekend, students huddled in their homes while Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Texas coast and inland cities. Harvey is the strongest hurricane to hit Texas in 56 years; it’s projected to produce more than 60 inches of rain, well above the state’s average annual rainfall. More than 19 trillion tons of water have fallen in Texas since it made landfall: enough to cover Alaska, California, and Texas in an inch of water. Cities most directly in Harvey’s path, such as coastal city Rockport and even Houston, have experienced incredible wreckage and havoc as buildings are destroyed. Thirty people have died, with many more injured. While the direct effects on Austin are over, cities closer to Harvey’s path are still experiencing flooding—residents are beginning to think about the monumental task of rebuilding the things that have been lost.

Carolyn Foote, the lead librarian, belongs to the majority of Austinites who have a personal connection with the tragedy.

“My son’s car was drowned in Houston,” she said. “His girlfriend’s house was submerged yesterday. At my cousin’s house, they were stuck on the second floor for two days.”

The most thorough devastation she knew of, however, occurred with her family members in Rockport. Harvey made direct landfall on the city on Aug. 26, leading to incredible damage and at least one death.

“My sister has a house [there],” Foote said. “It was mostly totalled by the storm; there’s just part of the roof still on. But their neighbor’s house was destroyed completely. We’d been going down there a lot. It’s very hard to see a place that was so beautiful, destroyed. It isn’t a wealthy community, so they’re going to need some help.”

The library is hosting a donation drive specifically for Rockport residents from Thursday to Friday. Students can bring sunscreen, lip balm, mosquito spray, work gloves, plastic gloves, trash bags, tarps and face masks; they should drop them off in the box underneath the whiteboard just as they enter the main library.

Students can expect other donation opportunities as well. Most immediately, Student Council, National Honor Society, and the Teen Teaching program are teaming together to host a campus-wide donation drive starting next Tuesday, Sept. 5.

“We’re going to bring a big trailer and park it out in front of the Chap Court, and we’re going to do a fill-the-trailer drive,” Student Council sponsor Andria Chaney said.

From next Tuesday to Friday, students can bring new undergarments, new socks, toiletries, pillows, blankets, black trash bags, baby bottles, baby formula, baby diapers and feminine hygiene products. These items will be donated directly to refuges in Austin, including the Austin Convention Center, that have been set up for evacuees. Chaney is working with Tres Ellis, the Teen Teaching teacher, as well as NHS sponsors to execute the logistics.

“Whatever we collect, that’ll be great,” Ellis said.

Coordinators have high hopes for the effort. When disasters strike with the magnitude of this one, it’s only human to feel sympathy. Chaney and Ellis hope that Austin’s physical closeness to the events of Harvey help students to translate their sympathy into action.

“We all know so many people in Houston,” Chaney said. “We live so close. Not only are we giving to the evacuees, but it’s a personal thing.”


How to help:

  • Supply Drive for Rockport residents (see above list); drop off in main library from 8/31 – 9/1
  • Supply Drive for evacuees in Austin (see above list); drop off in trailer in front of Chap Court, starting 9/5
  • Amazon Wishlist for YES Prep charter school in Houston; buy supplies for their families in need at
  • Central Texas Food Bank in Austin; drop off food and/or volunteer, more info at
  • Austin Pets Alive!; donate wire dog crates, sheets, towels, aluminum food bowls, dog and cat food, litter and cleaning supplies, and/or volunteer, more info at
  • Red Cross; donate money to support their disaster relief efforts at
  • James Avery Jewelry @Barton Creek Square Mall; buy the ‘Heart of Texas’ charm, and 100 percent of proceeds will be donated through September