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Jenniffer's Journey:

Help Weather the Storm

It’s hard to blog about my Project Money journey this week given the devastation that so many have suffered from Hurricane Harvey. I have a safe, dry home and a dry bed to sleep in. I also not only have the clothes on my back, but I have a closet full of dry clothes and shoes, including pajamas to wear while I sleep in said dry bed. And so does Ashley.   

My family is healthy, safe, and we are together. Many in Texas are separated from their families, stuck in their flooded (and unsafe) homes and going hungry. Let’s not forget the sick who were in hospitals, assisted living, and transitional care where waters surged and power was lost. Or those who fell ill because of the elements during the storm and its aftermath. I have a well equipped, dry emergency room to get to if necessary. Most in Houston can’t just get in their car and drive to urgent care if their baby is sick. We can’t forget about the psychiatric patients in need of their daily or weekly visits to their therapist. Nope, they can’t get there either.   

My best furry buddy Jett is safely napping on his dry dog bed, and it’s a good thing too. Because for a lab, he hates the water and he’s a terrible swimmer. Pretty sure he’d stand on his hind two legs and walk through the water to higher ground with Ashley and me if we were ever to get flooded. Or, we’d end up carrying him on our backs. Crazy dog.  But at least we are not in Texas.

I have food in my refrigerator that is still running because my house is dry and I have power. Which means I can still charge my phone and text, call, Snap, post, pin, stream and tweet to my heart’s content.

And so, instead of talking about the money that I am saving to buy things for myself or my family or to pay my bills that keep coming (oh yeah, and the bills don’t stop coming for those whose homes and cars were flooded), I will be spending this time identifying which of the groups in need in Texas I will be giving money to. 

This leads me to this week’s financial not-so-fun but important fact: no matter where you are at financially, pretty much anyone can spare as little as $5 to help those in need. Every little bit counts.  And if you can’t give during the immediate aftermath, you can still give later. It will take a very, very long time for the Houston area to rebuild, so you can budget now and give later.

In large scale disasters like Hurricane Harvey, the experts say that if you can’t volunteer your time, giving a financial gift is better than material donations such as food and clothing because those material donations compete with priority relief items for transportation and storage. And sadly, while disasters like Harvey bring out the best in people, they can also bring out the worst in people. So, before just giving your money away to a possible scam, take some time to make sure it’s going to a reputable organization that has been vetted and has a history of providing disaster relief. Anyone can setup a GoFundMe page or other crowdfunding page, so beware of those that you see trending on social media unless the organizer has been vetted or you know them personally. Charity Navigator and GuideStar rate non-profit and charitable organizations based on the organization’s financial health, accountability and transparency. You can link to both of them here:

https://www.charitynavigator.org

http://www.guidestar.org/Home.aspx

Here are some additional helpful links and articles:  

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/harvey-guide-donations-49584715

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2017/08/28/helping-out-after-hurricane-harvey-where-what-how-to-donate/

So, my budget this week will include a few donations to help support those who are in need. And with my donations and all of the other donations flooding in, together we can help those in Texas weather the storm.  


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