The images and stories coming out the Houston area this past week have been devastating. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, people the world over are reaching out to help the people of Texas in any way they can. Now, with the storm making landfall in Louisiana, we are witnessing a remarkable resilience and tremendous generosity that has only just begun.
Our partners at the Texas Trucking Association (TXTA), headquartered in Austin, have been fielding questions and requests regarding assistance. The trucking family’s roots run across all communities and our hearts go out to all directly impacted. Many TXTA members are already engaged with national, state and county emergency management stakeholders to work to help in any way possible.
With those recovery efforts just beginning, here’s what we all can do to help our friends in Texas and Louisiana:
Donate to the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army: The Red Cross is providing food, shelter and other assistance – you can contribute directly by visiting www.redcross.com or by texting “HARVEY” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. You can also make a donation to the Salvation Army www.salvationarmyusa.org. They also collect goods and clothing and can even schedule a pickup as well.
Contribute Food, Clothes and Personal Items to Your Local Food Bank: Your local food banks provide food and supplies to those in need — and during these times you can imagine the tremendous increase in demand in these affected areas — local food banks often ship items to supplement food banks in affected areas. You can find your local food bank through this website: www.feedamerica.org.
Donate Blood: Blood and Tissue Centers have expanded their hours at numerous locations in order to help address critical blood shortages. Please visit their websites directly and you can find the nearest location to you at www.aabb.org for more information on where you can donate.
Give to the Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has established the Harvey Relief Fund to help victims in his city. Make donations directly here: https://ghcf.org/hurricane-relief/
Carriers Can Register On-Line to Support Disaster Efforts: According to our friends at TXTA, they’ve received numerous inquiries regarding support of equipment and drivers. If you are interested in offering your assets, there is an easy way to do that. Currently, flooding from rising rivers are now the cause for the growing floodwaters, so the focus is still on rescue efforts and for life-sustaining commodities. If you would like to offer in-kind logistics services or equipment, you can register through the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) here http://alanaid.org/how-to-help/offerinkind/. FEMA is in partnership with ALAN, so registrations through this link are being converted to FEMA directly for consideration regarding for-hire recovery work. Businesses interested only in for-hire work with FEMA can register directly at this website: https://www.fema.gov/about-industry-liaison-program.
Carriers Must Confirm Access to Activity Work on Disaster Efforts: While parts of the state of Texas are still in active emergencies with stranded people and rising water, others are shifting their focus to recovery efforts, and protocol for each city or county in Texas is given by those local jurisdictions independently. Here also FEMA can help you. These jurisdictions are the emergency management operations centers of the individual Texas counties. Evacuated areas are still inaccessible to unauthorized freight. Spontaneously showing up in these areas in not advised, as you must coordinate with the local communities. So before you depart with any loads, please crosscheck your route with this real-time website www.drivetexas.org for road closures to ensure you have selected a permissible and safe path. Be sure and “hover” your mouse over the symbols or colors on the roadway map for information on that particular segment. Some specifically say lanes are open, but frontage roads are under water. For authorized access or re-entry you will need to send the below information to FEMA at R6firstname.lastname@example.org
- What life-saving commodities are you transporting (Only life-sustaining/life-supporting commodities will be allowed)?
- How many trucks and how are they marked?
- What is the end destination and known route (this is important)?
- What IDs do drivers have?
- What’s our ETA for destination?
Please note that law enforcement must have all information before granting access.
On behalf of TXTA, we here at PrePass appreciate your concern and willingness to assist in this time of great need. The trucking community is a tight-knit, compassionate group of people from all walks of life and by coming together, we can make great things happen. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected in Texas and Louisiana, and we also want to express our gratitude and respect for emergency personnel, rescue and recovery workers and everyone volunteering on the ground.