In the past five days, we’ve seen this sprawling metropolis known as Houston go from being the sweltering heat jungle we all call home to seeing our homes destroyed by record breaking rain. The flooding and displacement in Houston and the surrounding areas is the worst I’ve ever seen in my life, and everyone in the know is declaring that Harvey has definitely caused the worst flood in Houston history — if not in the entire United States. As we sit in our homes, or at a shelter, or even at a neighbor’s place, we should look to unify rather than divide one another. Around the nation right now there are more than enough fingers being pointed at climate change deniers, developers, and government entities that we’re more than likely to see plenty of fights break out outside of Harris county over what caused this disaster. However, we need to set the example of how to act and what to do in the time of crisis, not join the mob mentality of fighting over who is the most at blame.
No matter what you think politically, or how you may fall on one side of how this city gets governed, there are more than enough people here stepping up and helping out. We should be champions of those who have stepped up and helped out, rather than attempting to call out anyone who falls short of what we deem respectable in a time of need. We can look no further than to Jim McIngvale of Gallery Furniture fame as someone to appreciate during this urgent time of need. McIngvale opened two of his Gallery Furniture locations to be utilized as community shelters as soon as he could. The two locations are now sheltering and serving food to the 300 to 400 evacuees inside of each. McIngvale isn’t the only one who opened his doors for those in need, as Pinkerton’s BBQ stayed open to feed anyone who was hungry, and Sam Houston Race Park which was open for anyone needing to stable horses.
In the music community, White Oak Music Hall has decided to donate all of their door profits from their sold out Sylvan Esso show on Aug. 31 to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Sylvan Esso is also donating a portion of their profits from the performance to the Friends of Little White Oak Bayou fund, which hopes to raise $50,000 for those in the live/recorded music industry. The Live online auction organized by the venue has unique items from Twin Shadow, as well as a donation from Diplo to get the fund started. The fund, which has already raised over $19,000, has a link here for anyone who wants to donate. Your donation is completely tax deductible. It doesn’t stop there, as Chris Ehlinger, artist for multiple Splice Records projects, has created art for a shirt with Southern Drinking Club, where 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly to JJ Watt’s Houston Flood Relief Fund. You can purchase the shirts here.
Alongside multiple Houstonians in the music scene who donated time and goods for those at the George R Brown Convention Center, Mark C Austin gathering donated items for victims and took them to multiple shelters and drop off points. The Secret Group also stepped up efforts and took on items to donate to shelters across the city. There’s also a compilation from Houston artists out on Friday Sept. 29 that will feature tracks from acts like The Daphne Blue, <Insert Name Here>, Middlechild, Finger Guns and more. The Bandcamp, CD, and cassette compilation will have all proceeds going to help those displaced by the flooding, and will also include Get A Life, Narrow Head, Since Always, Date & Destroy, Newport American Dream, and Greg Cote & the Real Life Friends. Even Houston musician Clay Melton will be donating 100 percent of the profits from his new album, found here, to victims of Harvey.
Outside of Houston, corporate America has pledged or raised over $65 million to help those affected by Harvey. Companies like Amazon will match up to one million dollars pledged through the Amazon website for Red Cross. Apple will donate $2 million and has also started allowing donations through through iTunes. Meanwhile, Home Depot has pledged $1 million, and Wal-Mart and Starbucks have said they will match any amounts donated by their employees. In Austin at the Mohawk, a concert featuring Black Joe Lewis, The Octopus Project, Robert Ellis, Walker Lukens, The Deer, and Otis the Destroyer will take place with all of the proceeds going to the Greater Houston Community Foundation. The show, with $20 tickets, will also take on donations for items like diapers, cleaning supplies, non-perishable food items and more.
Celebrities like Sandra Bullock and the Kardashians have all stepped up and donated money as well. While Bullock donated a whopping $1 million, the Kardashians have donated $500,000. Additionally, Chris Brown and Chris Young have donated $100,000 each. Comic Kevin Hart issued a challenge to celebrities to donate $25,000 each, and he himself donated $50,000. The Rock, J Lo, A Rod, TI and many more all stepped up to donate the $25,000 each. And of course, Beyonce has pledged an unspecified but “significant” amount of money to aid victims as well.
The list of those helping Houston is growing by the second, and should only continue to grow. There are multiple benefit concerts in the works as well as benefit releases set for upcoming dates too. You can help those in need by donating through any of the above avenues. You can donate to the Greater Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund here and visit Volunteer Houston here to help those in need.