Local Groups Raise Donations for Hurricane Harvey Victims


    As flooding continues to overwhelm areas of Texas, a flood of donations is coming into the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County.

    “As Americans, we all have to step up to support one another when there is a need. When you look at those graphic photos and you see elderly people being pulled out of homes, when you see dogs stranded on boats, when you see ordinary citizens getting out there to support: that’s what we do here,” explained Michael Johnson, CEO of BGCDC.

    They are not just asking for any type of donations. They have specific things they are looking for based on what Texas authorities say they need the most.  Items they are asking people to donate include toiletries, diapers, hygiene products, deodorant,  large garbage bags, shampoo, soap and board games and school supplies for kids.

    The club is not new to gathering donations during natural disasters like what we see happening in Texas. The group did the same thing during the Joplin, Missouri, tornado in 2011 and the Flint water crisis. Now, they are hoping the community will step up again to help donate.

    “I have no doubt in my mind if that happened in Madison, Wisconsin, I firmly believe the country would step up and support us. We are going because that is what we do. We want to support kids and families, it’s in our mission,” Johnson said.

    The club is accepting donations at the office at 1818 W. Beltline Highway from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Wednesday.

    The BGCDC is also asking for financial donations. All of the proceeds will go towards helping the people of Texas. The group plans to give a check to the local Austin Boys and Girls chapter, which will be working with local clubs and authorities to utilize the funds.

    The club will leave from Madison on Thursday for Austin, Texas.  If conditions are safe enough, they plan to head to Houston where they will distribute donations shelters and families in need

    Around 30 churches are working with local faith network, Selfless Ambition, which was founded by Henry Sanders to partner with the Boys and Girls Club to help as many people as possible.

    “My hope is that as a faith community we can use all of our resources, not (just as) individuals (or) churches, but as a body to work together to make sure we get every resources, every talent, everything, we can give to help these people in need in Texas,” Sanders said.

    They are not the only ones looking to help. The American Red Cross sent 47 volunteers and staff from Wisconsin to Texas.

    “Mainly, because of where the water is. We really don’t know what the needs are until it goes down but right now it is really significant and we are going to need help probably weeks and months on end,” Tom Mooney of the Southwest Red Cross said.

    For those at home looking to help, the Red Cross said financial donations are the best way for people to contribute.

    “We don’t budget for natural disasters like this. This is really when we reach out to the American public and ask them to help. This is going to be significant, it’s going to be billions of dollars in damage. (The) cost to the Red Cross is going to be well in excess of $10 million,” Mooney said.

    Mooney said that during natural disasters, the Red Cross struggles to keep an adequate supply of blood donations. The organization is also asking people to help by donating blood to their local Red Cross locations.

    You can donate by texting “Harvey” to 90999 for $10 or call 1-800-REDCROSS.

    The Salvation Army and Second Harvest food bank are not collecting any donations locally. Both organizations are directing people to their national websites to help victims.