It's amazing how generous Northeast Ohioans are when it comes to helping those in need.
But relief agencies are telling us this is not the time to clean out your closet to send clothes, blankets or household items yet. Nor do they want inexperienced good samaritans driving into the disaster zone.
Help is definitely needed, but some things more vital than others.
First of all, it's still raining down in Houston and the surrounding area. It's dangerous and rescuers need streets clear to help residents. That's why they're asking people not to head to Houston right now.
Another reason, there's often nowhere to store items dropped off in disasters.
So what can you do?
1. Send cash to a reputable agency that's on the ground helping. Money buys what's really needed and helps to boost the surrounding economy also impacted.
2. Donate blood. The need is critical both in Texas and right here in Northeast Ohio.
3. Donate diapers to the Texas Diaper Bank. Send donations to their San Antonio address and they can disperse to those in need. The city of Stow is assisting the Texas Diaper Bank with collections from now through September 22.
4. Volunteer your time to the Red Cross Disaster Service. They'll train you and they need physically capable professionals to help for two-week deployments. If you can't go to Houston, they need you here too.
5. Once the flood waters recede, agencies might then be asking for specific donations items. So if you're compelled to do a collection, partner with a relief agency on the ground like the Salvation Army, United Way, or the Red Cross and see what they really need.
One other thing you can do now, donate to your local food bank as some are being tapped to send food to Houston.