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Here’s how to help Hurricane Harvey victims

Nurses and other medical professionals from across the country are lining up to give of themselves toward the rescue and recovery happening in Texas and Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

That could mean a donation of skills and experience, of blood, or money. The American Red Cross has been coordinating the recruitment of medical and mental health professional volunteers for disaster relief operations. Red Cross deployments require a nine-day commitment, along with special Red Cross trainings. They’re looking for licensed nurses, EMTs, paramedics, physician’s assistants, MDs and DOs.

If not with the Red Cross, nurses who want to help have other avenues to volunteer their skills and experience:

Fastaff travel nursing offers expedited applications for nurses who want to volunteer in Texas. Noting that the effects of Harvey will last for months, Fastaff’s website says: “We are currently filling immediate openings in Texas and are expecting more to follow. We are seeking nurses in multiple specialties who are able to leave at a moment’s notice and be the first to serve in these urgent and crucial situations.”

• The Texas Volunteer Registry facilitates the assignment of those who want to help during a disaster. Often, volunteers who spontaneously present to disaster sites are unable to be properly deployed, and their presence goes wasted.

• A related group to the Texas Volunteer Registry, the Medical Reserve Corps is a national network of local volunteer professionals who respond to disasters. Always recruiting volunteers, they describe themselves as “… a way to offer their skills that might not have been used before because they were not adequately prepared to be part of the response effort.”

• While not seeking volunteers, the Texas Board of Nursing has implemented a disaster licensing procedure that might be helpful for certain nurses who want to help. The board is waiving fees and is quickly granting temporary licenses.

Nurses unable to donate their time and skills in the wake of Harvey can still help with blood and monetary donations. Do research before donating. Check out websites like Charity Navigator to read summaries and compare grades of organizations that are said to be helping in Harvey’s wake.

The Federal Trade Commission also offers a “Charity Checklist” that should help in your research. The FTC’s website notes:

“Be wary of charities that spring up too suddenly in response to current events and natural disasters,” the FTC website says. “Even if they are legitimate, they probably don’t have the infrastructure to get the donations to the affected area or people.”

Armed with that knowledge, here are a variety of links to explore:

• The Red Cross online or text HARVEY to 90999 will take credit cards and PayPal for donations of at least $10.

• The Texas Nurses Association, via the “Nurses Helping Nurses Affected by Hurricane Harvey” fund, will take e-checks or credit-card donations of at least $10.

• A fund started by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner at The Greater Houston Community Foundation is accepting donations via its website, by snail mail or wire transfer.

Carter BloodCare offers 20 locations in Texas, and can be reached at 877-385-8724.

Catholic Charities offers a variety of ways to give — online and otherwise — toward supporting survivors of different (or no) religious backgrounds.

The Salvation Army says it has been mobilizing on “the front lines” of areas damaged by Harvey. They are reportedly staffing at least 36 shelters in the Houston area, and offices also provide individual food boxes, bottled water, cleanup kits and comfort kits.

• Send Relief/Southern Baptist Disaster Relief was preparing to help Harvey survivors even before the storm struck the Gulf.

Volunteer Houston on Monday launched a volunteer portal to facilitate those who want to assist in Harvey recovery. But, they caution via, to wait until the storm has passed.

• The Feeding Texas food bank notes that, for most wanting to support disaster relief, the best path is through financial support.

• The website for the Houston Food Bank says it distributed “83 million nutritious meals” for the fiscal year 2016-17.

• The Texas Diaper Bank distributes diapers to babies, adults and the disabled, and reports that it has taken in at least $2 million in Harvey-related collections so far.

• Houston’s Coalition for the Homeless supports persons who already had no permanent place to live, and have had their lives upended by Harvey.

• The SPCA of Texas looks after troubled pets and other animals. In the early moments of the Harvey storm, the SPCA famously transferred 123 cats from Corpus Christi to Dallas. Going forward, they’re requesting monetary donations instead of supplies. Gift cards to places like Petco would help. For those willing to volunteer in person, the Louisiana SPCA is taking applications.

Freelance writer David Brown contributed to the writing and research of this article. Photo by FEMA News Photo.

Courses Related to ‘Disaster Preparedness’

CE681: When Disasters Strike
 (1 contact hr)

This module features an overview of disaster management in EDs, including the definition of the four stages of disaster management and the appropriate triage of patients. It also describes the unique considerations of disasters that involve a chemical, radiological, or biological agent. Preparation of ED personnel, such as EMTs and RNs, will enable them to respond to disasters and the patient populations affected by them more effectively.

CE409-60: RNs Shelter Victims of Disaster
 (1 contact hr)

Never in the history of the U.S. has disaster preparation and response been as vital as it is today. Disasters are frequently classified as man made or from natural causes. In addition to the threat of man made disasters — such as terrorist attacks — and natural disasters — such as fires, floods and earthquakes — the focus of disaster preparation has grown to include emerging infectious diseases, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome and avian influenza. This module will help nurses better understand the role of Red Cross nurses during major disasters and help nurses decide whether DHS nursing may be where they can best contribute their time and talents to help their fellow citizens.

By | 2021-05-07T15:10:08-04:00 August 31st, 2017|Categories: Nursing News|Tags: |24 Comments

About the Author:

Sallie Jimenez
Sallie Jimenez is content manager for healthcare for from Relias. She develops and edits content for the blog, which covers industry news and trends in the nursing profession and healthcare. She also develops content for the Digital Editions. She has more than 25 years of healthcare journalism, content marketing and editing experience.


  1. Avatar
    Shawn Bryant September 1, 2017 at 3:41 am - Reply

    I really would like to help i am not a nurse i am a CNA CMT and a phlebotomist i can do something

  2. Avatar
    lynette longino September 1, 2017 at 6:06 am - Reply

    I want to volunteer to offer spiritual comfort thru prayer read reading bible and encourage people and give hope during these traumatic times.

  3. Avatar
    Rita M. Thompson September 2, 2017 at 3:29 am - Reply

    I’m a retired RN in Ruston, Louisiana.

  4. Avatar
    Vera Gilmore September 2, 2017 at 4:56 am - Reply

    I am a cna certified for 22 years been traveling around world for 2 years .and work in hospitals and nursing home,physic ward ,baby floor the other 20 years .

  5. Avatar
    Vicki lambert September 2, 2017 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    RN seeking position in Texas area to assist with medical health for victims of storm

  6. Avatar
    stephen Tears September 3, 2017 at 2:20 am - Reply

    I am an LPN in Virginia and retired, how can I help. I have a compact license

  7. Avatar
    Lindsey Bollschweiler September 3, 2017 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    I’ve never traveled to help out, but I am a registered nurse, for almost 10 years and would be willing to travel to Houston to assist, but I don’t have the airfare to do so or I would’ve already gone. I’m willing to go if there are means to travel. I live in rancho Cucamonga, CA

  8. Avatar
    Tammy September 3, 2017 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    Great information. Can this be shared or placed on Facebook to increase awareness?

  9. Avatar
    Alice Morgan September 3, 2017 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    I live in Houston, willing, able RN, and unemployed right now. I have triage experience, worked for hospitals in outpatient setting, since June this year, and would love to help with the disaster of Harvey’s wake in some way. Would love to send you my resume with all my experience.

  10. Avatar
    Caitlyn Bryant September 3, 2017 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    My family and I would also like to help! I am a CMA and phlebotomist. My husband does tree work! Please let us know how else we can help!

  11. Avatar
    Chasidy September 4, 2017 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    Current lpn wanting to help

  12. Avatar
    Michelle Waller September 5, 2017 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    Currently a travel RN willing to help out as needed.

    • Avatar
      Kathryn Daniels September 5, 2017 at 5:34 pm - Reply

      I am a recently retired ED nurse looking for work. Have been agency nurse for many years. 38 years in the ED. looking to help…IL. licence…which I believe is a compact state. I have the time and freedom to help.

  13. Avatar
    mary beth vanfleet September 5, 2017 at 7:30 pm - Reply

    I’m an RN and my husband is an ED doc. We want to give a week of our time to help in Sept. If you can tell a situation that would want use please e-mail to Mary Beth at [email protected]

  14. Avatar
    Jessica Gage September 5, 2017 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    I am a CNA of 7yrs I need info on how I can get down there and help I have some family coming to do work down there I live in AR and I’m very good at my job…
    Email me at [email protected]

  15. Avatar
    mary anne winegeart September 5, 2017 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    I’m a retired ER nurse living in Texas. My license is inactive at this time but I would like to help in Louisiana or Texas in any capacity in the medical area; assisting doctors with procedures, caring for wounds, giving injections and medications, or simply taking vital signs or emotional support.

  16. Avatar
    Georganne Rhodes September 8, 2017 at 6:06 am - Reply

    Hello, I am an RN with 27 years experience in the ER and ICU. I would like to help in any way needed.

  17. Avatar
    Georganne Rhodes September 8, 2017 at 6:12 am - Reply

    I am an RN with 30 years experience in ER and ICU. I am currently not working and would like to help. Please let me know how I can help with disaster relief efforts.

  18. Avatar
    Madeline Shrader September 8, 2017 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    I’m a CNA, and I’d be ecstatic to find out how to be sent out to help any of the hurricane victims regardless of what state they reside in when the hurricane hits. Please email me regarding any possibilities and if so how to go about being sent out. Thank you

  19. Avatar
    Brian R September 11, 2017 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Im a PICU, PEDS CICU and NICU travel RN. Currently in Los Angeles California. I would like to help out/work an assignment with the disaster relief in Florida, Texas… Can someone tell me which travel nursing agencies I can get in touch with ? Thank you

  20. Avatar
    Traci Metzler September 13, 2017 at 11:20 am - Reply

    Would love to help. RN in Pa. Available to help in relief. ED. Tele. Neuro. Trauma experience. Please lead me in the path to assist. Any length of time or any area willing. Contact at [email protected] Eager available and ready.

  21. Avatar
    Donna j cohlmeyer September 14, 2017 at 10:52 pm - Reply

    I am a lpn in Kell IL I would
    give anything to come and help I can not afford to volunteer

  22. Avatar
    Dianne Allen September 18, 2017 at 1:05 am - Reply

    I am so moved by all the outpouring of human care and compassion. Several of my clients are nurses. We just survived Hurricane Irma and the aftermath is fresh in our minds.

    As a mental health professional, I offer my services for anyone who could benefit from someone to talk to. I set up conference calls on zoom or can meet in person depending upon location

    Keep sharing your great work and care for others. Take good care of yourselves.


  23. Avatar
    Kimberly paster October 9, 2017 at 5:48 am - Reply

    I’m a nurse that just wants to help medically and spiritually.

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