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20 trillion gallons of water have poured down on Texas in the last week as a result of Hurricane Harvey, damaging or destroying over 49,000 homes and claiming the lives of at least 63 people.

Thousands of individuals, families, and their pets have required rescue from their own flooded homes and communities, leaving behind everything they own never to see again. Others are still missing.

It’s hard when we see these stories on the news as we feel grief about the suffering the hurricane has caused. Sometimes it feels like there isn’t much we can do. We reflect on the things that are dear to us and feel sad about the thought of ever losing them to something like a natural disaster. But those are also the feelings that lead us to step up and help those less fortunate whom we’re grieving for.

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With relief efforts so far reaching, and over 300 Hurricane Harvey GoFundMe campaigns, it can be a bit overwhelming to know where to start. That’s why ISP is briefing our ambassadors this month on how to best give back to Houston and other affected areas. Are you ready for your mission ambassadors?

According to experts, nonprofit organizations assisting, and local government officials, Texas is most in need of cash. Sending supplies has proven difficult as storage facilities are flooded and access to shelters is still limited. Relief is also going to be a long process with changing needs.

We know cash isn’t always an easy or intimate way to support even the causes we care most about, so why not get creative with a small fundraiser and stretch the dollar in a way that reaches the affected and your educates your local community at the same time?

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Items needed:

  1. A great fundraiser idea (we’ve suggested a few below) and a name for your event/effort that will educate those present
  2. A poster board, markers, paper to make or print flyers advertising your event
  3. An adult to supervise
  4. Raw materials for your crafts/baked items/or talent if you’re hosting a benefit

How to do this month’s campaign

  1. Pick a hurricane relief campaign or organization to donate to. We’ve done some research and recommend the following:

American Red Cross
Greater Houston Community Foundation: Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
United Way of Greater Houston
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy
SPCA of Texas

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  1. Have an adult help you coordinate your fundraiser. It can be as simple as a lemonade stand with ingredients you already have at home! Other ideas could be:
    1. Bake sale at your school, in your neighborhood, or at a busy spot
    2. Craft sale (painted rocks, wish bracelets, sugar scrubs, painted pine cone roses, maple seed dragon flies- there are so many great crafts that have little to no start up cost)
    3. Snack stand at a popular outdoor recreation area/center (if budget allows, a small start up cost of supplies at Costco can be doubled or even tripled if re-sold for a cause. Add a home-made sticker or tag to you items explaining the cause and where proceeds will go. For older ambassadors, make up a # (hashtag) and share with your supports so they can share on social media (ex. #HikeforHarvey on water bottles at busy hiking trail head)
    4. Talent Show/Open Mic. For older ambassadors this can be a great way to get your school to help you. Ask a teacher or staff member how you can host an event at your school to raise $ for hurricane relief. Open the stage to all student performers and invite family and friends after school hours. Ticket sales can go straight to your charity of choice and the only investment you need is talent! Don’t forget to advertise with flyers around school.
  2. Make sure your banner or sign informs community members what you’re raising funds for, and which charity you are donating proceeds to
  3. Have an adult help you contact the charity of your choice to donate once your funds are collected! Feel super proud that you’ve been so creative in raising funds and awareness for hurricane relief
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Reflection Questions

  1. What is it you love most about the home you live in?
  2. What would be the most important thing in that home to take with you in an emergency?
  3. What are some other ways you think people could raise money to rebuild homes in Texas?
  4. How do you think people felt when they bought an item from your fundraiser today (or a ticket to your benefit?)
  5. What would you like the people receiving this money in Texas to know about your fundraiser? How do you think they’ll feel when they receive your help?
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