As the State of Texas continues to experience flooding, the situation may not be conducive to volunteers entering impacted areas. Spontaneous or unaffiliated volunteers who self-deploy may create an additional burden on impacted communities (where resources for food and shelter are scarce) as well as put themselves in danger. The State of Texas is asking potential volunteers to register with a voluntary or charitable organization of their choice, many of which are already in Texas supporting survivors on the ground.
No matter your skill set, background, or ability, you can donate your time and make a difference. The only thing needed to become a volunteer is the drive to help people, and the patience to register with volunteer groups. Self deployment can actually hinder operations by adding an unknown factor: you. So we ask you to stay patient and stay committed to finding the perfect opportunity for you to help those that need it.
Below are agencies potentially seeking volunteers in disaster areas and in local communities:
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross is working around the clock along the Gulf Coast to help the thousands of people whose lives have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey. If you are local to the affected areas, and are willing to roll-up your sleeves to help your community, the American Red Cross needs you! Hurricane Harvey has left a path of devastation that will require months of recovery efforts – so while our need for volunteers is immediate, it will be ongoing for quite some time.
Brethren Disaster Ministries
Brethren Disaster Ministries restores hope for the most vulnerable disaster survivors by engaging volunteers to repair and rebuild storm-damaged homes, and by supporting disaster recovery efforts of faith-based partners. BDM is a program of the Church of the Brethren.
Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
ELCA is a church that shares a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. As members of the ELCA, we believe that we are freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor. ELCA believes that with our hands, we do God’s work of restoring and reconciling communities throughout the world.
Feeding Texas, formerly known as the Texas Food Bank Network (TFBN), is a statewide nonprofit organization. Their mission is to lead a unified effort for a hunger-free Texas. Feeding Texas moves millions of hungry Texans toward food security through a statewide network of food banks; strengthen the collective response to hunger through collaboration and scaling success; and lead the public conversation needed to solve hunger in Texas.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization working in nearly 1,400 communities across the United States and in approximately 70 countries around the world. Habitat’s vision is of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat for Humanity has local organizations throughout the regions affected by the storms. With their help, we are assessing the shelter and housing needs and developing response options. Long-term plans will be determined after our evaluations and will depend on the level of support we receive from donors, volunteers, corporate partners and other community organizations.
Headwaters Relief Organization
Headwaters Relief Organization is a disaster relief collaboration of volunteers that supports the emotional and housing rehabilitation needs of families and communities ravaged by disaster. Their mission is to react with agility and compassion when disasters strike through practical aid, physical recovery assistance and mental health support. Headwaters Relief Organization has involved more than 1,000 volunteers from the United States and around the world.
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC)
IOCC, offers emergency relief and development programs to those in need worldwide, without discrimination, and strengthens the capacity of the Orthodox Church to so respond. We envision that, by God’s grace, IOCC will enable those suffering and in need to continue to improve their own lives and communities and to have means to live with dignity, respect, and hope. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC and its partners have provided more than $600 million in relief and self-help programs to people in more than 60 countries. Current programs focus on emergency relief, agriculture and food security, education, health, water and sanitation, and economic opportunity. 2017 marks IOCC’s 25th anniversary celebration.
Islamic Relief USA is a nonprofit humanitarian organization and its mission is to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy and disease regardless of color, race, gender or creed, and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner. Islamic Relief USA aims to provide rapid relief in the event of human and natural disasters and to establish sustainable local development projects, allowing communities to better help themselves.
Mennonite Disaster Services
Mennonite Disaster Service is a volunteer network of Anabaptist churches that responds in Christian love to those affected by disasters in Canada and the United States. While the main focus is on clean up, repair and rebuilding homes, this service touches lives and nurtures hope, faith and wholeness.
Operation Blessing International (OBI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, humanitarian organization dedicated to demonstrating God’s love by alleviating human need and suffering in the United States and around the world. One of the largest charities in America, OBI provides strategic relief in 39 countries on an ongoing basis through core programs such as disaster relief, medical aid, hunger relief, vulnerable children and orphan care, clean water and community development. When major hurricanes, tornadoes and other devastating storms strike the U.S., volunteers become a key component of Operation Blessing’s disaster relief efforts. From serving hot meals and handing out bags of relief to helping residents salvage precious belongings and aiding in debris removal and cleanup, OBI volunteers are critical to bringing relief in real time!
Points of Light
Points of Light helps millions of volunteers change the world. They mobilize people to take action on the causes they care about through innovative programs, events and campaigns. Points of Light is creating a culture of volunteerism, one that celebrates the power of service. Points of Light works in partnership with companies, foundations, government agencies and nonprofits to achieve the greatest impact.
Rebuilding Together is a leading national nonprofit in safe and healthy housing with more than 40 years of experience. Rebuilding Together along with its corporate and community partners, helps to transform the lives of low-income homeowners by improving the safety and health of their homes and revitalizing our communities. Rebuilding Together’s local affiliates and nearly 100,000 volunteers complete about 10,000 rebuild projects nationwide each year.
The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Their message is based on the Bible, our ministry is motivated by the love of God, and their mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ as they meet human needs in His name without discrimination. Every program they offer is rooted in their passion to serve God by serving the lost, the vulnerable, the needy, the poor, the hurting, the helpless, and the hopeless. Salvation Army volunteers are critical partners in helping us fulfill our promise to America of “Doing the Most Good.” Volunteer opportunities are being coordinated locally.
Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to victims of war, natural disasters, disease, famine, poverty and persecution in more than 100 countries, with the purpose of sharing God’s love. Samaritan’s Purse has helped more than 29,000 families in 35 U.S. states following floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires and ice storms.
Save the Children
Save the Children is expanding its emergency response in Texas, assessing needs in Houston and Dallas, and acting quickly to bring truckloads of infant and toddler supplies to four shelters, while strengthening its work to support children in area shelters. You can best support Save the Children by providing a monetary donation.
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
The SBTC Disaster Relief Units deploy to assist disaster impacted areas and are in need of volunteers. For long-term recovery events SBTC trains volunteers and prepares them to serve.
Texas Baptist Men
Texas Baptist Men’s Volunteer Village is now accepting registrations for CHURCH GROUPS (not individual volunteers) wanting to work in the greater Houston area in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. If you feel this is a good fit for your group and are ready to commit your group to a time of service, please register on the website. After Texas Baptist Men receives your request, they will match your group with the best fit based on size and date requested and will send a follow up email confirmation with further details.
Texas Search and Rescue
TEXSAR has grown to be the largest wildland search and rescue organization in the State of Texas. Our searchers are all volunteers, and held to the highest standards. TEXSAR trains year round so they are ready when the next call comes, and are always looking for new members to join the team. No previous search and rescue experience is required. TEXSAR will help you get training and make sure you are fully qualified before your first deployment with the team. If you are passionate about helping your community and would like to be a part of a team of like-minded individuals, we urge you to come checkout one of our meetings to see if TEXSAR is the right place for you to serve.
United Church of Christ
The United Church of Christ (UCC) is a distinct and diverse community of Christians that come together as one church to join faith and action. With over 5,000 churches and nearly one million members across the U.S., the UCC serves God in the co-creation of a just and sustainable world. Your service as a Disaster Recovery Volunteer helps people rebuild their physical homes and is an act of presence that indicates the commitment to walk beside people as they seek to rebuild their lives. The wider UCC utilizes mission trip groups to help homeowners in the long-term recovery process.
United Way is there to help communities in their recovery and are involved in local disaster recovery in a variety of ways – from coordinating their community’s response to ensure the most vulnerable have the help that they need to investing in their community’s first responders year-round so that they are poised to act quickly when a storm does arrive. United Ways also invest in community partners to help individuals impacted with rebuilding their lives. United Ways and their partner agencies are a critical part of a community’s short and long-term recovery from a storm like Hurricane Harvey.
World Renew, compelled by God’s passion for justice & mercy, joins communities around the world to renew hope, reconcile lives, and restore creation. World Renew is the development, disaster response, and justice arm of the Christian Reformed Church. World Renew has a Disaster Response Services program located in Texas. You can volunteer as an Individual, Adult group, Youth group, Intergenerational group, or School group; the length of time for most volunteer opportunities is less than 2 Weeks, and no experience is necessary.
If you do not see an organization that interests you here, please go to the National VOAD site for additional opportunities and to register as a volunteer. Click here to access the volunteer registration page.