Disaster within the disaster: State of Texas asking for no more unsolicited donations

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) - As soon as Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the Lonestar State, Texans responded.

We saw several donation drives and fundraisers created to help those impacted by Harvey, many of those efforts right here in the Big Country.

The State of Texas is asking for no more unsolicited donations. That meaning donations coming in from drives that are not working directly with organizations, such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc. The overflow of donations creates a disaster within the disaster.

"The overwhelming generosity of the public is greatly appreciated," City of Abilene Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Bryan reads from a press release from the State of Texas. "However, the influx of donated items exceeds the needs of the impacted community at this time."

Global Samaritan Resources Inc. Executive Director, Michael Bob Starr says this is nothing new when it comes to disaster relief efforts.

"This frequently happens," Starr says. "It's called the disaster within the disaster. What happens is [donations] sit in and around the disaster area and they become another thing that has to be cleaned up."

If you're wanting to donate items, organizations like Global Samaritan are safe to donate to, but only items that have been requested.

"We only work through partners.," Starr says. "We never send our aid or our supplies to a place. We send it to another organization that understands the need and has asked us for specific things. So that way they get exactly what they need."

City of Abilene Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Bryan says the best way to help is through monetary donations.

"It gives you such flexibility.," Bryan says. "You see a need, you can put the money and the resource toward it. Whereas if you get an item, you're going to take a person away from serving the people and they have to go sort and take a lot of resources like clothing and such that may not be used by other people and warehouse them."

The state has set up a website to accept donations. You can visit rebuildtx.org to donate to the state. They have set a goal of $100 million to aid those impacted by Harvey. So far, they have raised $42 million.


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