As a photographer, I am inspired by the visual. I see potential beauty in almost every single scenario, vignette, occasion, moment or space.
As the first photos of Hurricane Harvey began making their way through social media and the news, there was no beauty to be found, just devastation. Heartbreak. Loss. Destruction.
This photo below was what really did me in.
I wanted to jump on a plane to Texas, find a boat and help get people out. I wanted to go and hug people, give them blankets and dry clothes. Sitting at my desk in the comfort of my warm, dry and unaffected home, I felt helpless and guilty for not being able to do more than donate money.
As this country proves time and time again, though, slowly a small sliver of beauty did make its way through the photos and stories being shared. I was far from alone in feeling like I needed to help somehow, and so many amazing heroes were, and are currently still doing everything in their power to help those in need.
Makeshift forces like the 'Cayun Navy' made their way to Houston and surrounding areas, teenage boys took their fishing boat and spent days rescuing people, bonafide cowboys were saving livestock, people formed a human chain to save a driver, people tried saving a colony of bats, a couple was rescued from their home by Chick-Fil-A employees, and so many more beautiful stories of humanity coming together to help one another.
And of course, the photos.
And this one, the ladies from the retirement home, all safe and warm, and sound. ♥
Every little bit helps, so from today on, in an effort to try to get more people to donate whatever they can spare, I'll match every donation you guys make to one of the many amazing charities currently helping out with Hurricane Harvey, up to $750. Email a confirmation of your donation (up to $100 - feel free to black out any personal information, I just need to see a confirmation for the amount and the charity) to email@example.com (RE: Harvey) and I will match it to the same charity (please make sure it is a 'legit' charity, sadly, there have been a lot of scams going around!).
If you are weary of larger charities like the Red Cross (plagued by failed efforts during past disasters), here is a quick list of smaller charities eager and in need of your kindness:
- The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund of Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, which is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
- To help animals suffering from the disaster, visit the Houston Humane Society or the San Antonio Humane Society.
- The United Way of Greater Houston flood relief fund will be used to help with immediate needs as well as long-term services like minor home repair.
- GoFundMe has created a page with all of its Harvey-related campaigns, including one started by the country singer Chris Young, who donated $100,000, and another created by the president and chief executive of the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce.
- The L.G.B.T.Q. Disaster Relief Fund will be used to help people “rebuild their lives through counseling, case management, direct assistance with shelf stable food, furniture, housing and more.”
- The Coastal Bend Community Foundation.
Experts say the best way for us to help right now is with cash donations, so let's all do our best to help in any way we can. :)
My thoughts, good wishes and all the positive energy I can think of are with the people in the Houston area right now. #standingwithHouston