By Adrianna Pitrelli
INDIANAPOLIS — As Hurricane Harvey tears through Houston and the surrounding areas, Hoosiers 1,000 miles away are working to help those in need.
From sending food care packages to helping people escape their flooded homes, some Hoosiers are helping in anyway they can.
Harvey is said to be one of the worst disasters in Texas history, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Category 4 hurricane was the worst to hit the state since the 1960s.
With wind gusts faster than 130 mph and rainfall of nearly 50 inches, 6.8 million people in 18 counties have been affected by the storm, according to the Associated Press. Homes were destroyed, causing people to relocate to hotels, disaster relief centers or with family, leaving them with little to nothing in their possession.
That’s where Hoosier charity groups and other similar organizations nationwide come in.
The Midwest Food Bank has sent 2,000 relief boxes to Texas and plans to send 700 more by the end of the week.
“We are asking for donations here so we can send relief to those in need for an extended period of time,” John Whitaker, executive director for the Midwest Food Bank of Indianapolis, said. “But it’s also good for people to donate financially so we can get the items we know we need.”
Items needed include paper towels, soap, peanut butter and canned soup. Each box the Midwest Food Bank sends can feed a family of four for a week and includes a Bible and devotional materials to keep the victims’ hopes high, Whitaker said.
The Indiana Region of the American Red Cross deployed 45 volunteers to Texas to help with the disaster.
“We are showing some great Hoosier hospitably as the need is monumental in the next several days, weeks, months ahead,” Duchess Adjei, Indiana regional communication director, said. “Our hearts go out to the thousand of people that are affected by this catastrophic disaster.”
The volunteers are working with emergency management and government officials to help in any place they’re needed.
Hoosiers can donate to the Red Cross relief efforts by texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or can visit the organization’s website.
However, Attorney General Curtis Hill cautions Hoosiers who are donating to relief efforts to make sure the organization is legitimate because it is an easy way for scammers to take advantage of those who are trying to help.
“Whether in Indiana or thousands of miles away in another state, Hoosiers are always some of the first in line offering a helping hand to their fellow Americans,” Hill said “In fact, many Hoosiers are already headed south to assist with rescue efforts in Houston and other communities in ruins along the coastal bend in Texas.”
The Office of the Indiana Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division encourages Hoosiers to donate money and supplies through well-established organizations, like the American Red Cross and the Midwest Food Bank.
Adrianna Pitrelli is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.