After Harvey, Long Islanders should pay it forward


Hurricane Harvey slammed into the southeastern Texas coast two Fridays ago as a Category 4 storm, lashing homes and businesses with 130-mile-per-hour winds and dumping three or more inches of rain per hour, according to the National Weather Service. The storm surge out of the Gulf of Mexico ranged from six to 12 feet.

Harvey was the most powerful hurricane to strike the U.S. since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The footage of hurricane-force winds and flooding that has dominated the news lately are eerily familiar to Long Islanders, and in many areas of the Heralds’ coverage area — Long Beach, Island Park, Oceanside, East Rockaway, parts of Baldwin and the Five Towns, parts of Bellmore and Merrick — Hurricane Sandy’s consequences endure. Its physical, psychological and financial effects are felt by many residents and business owners to this day.

That’s why Harvey hurt so much. We have felt the anguish and devastation firsthand here on Long Island, and those visuals of Texas cities and towns turned into flood zones dredge up awful memories of our own struggle. This pain is familiar.

All around the impact zone of Harvey, our fellow Americans are still hurting, and still need help. Long Islanders owe it not only to our brothers and sisters in Texas, but also to ourselves, to continue the hard work of providing assistance to those in need.

So many touching stories have already surfaced of South Shore residents paying it forward to Harvey victims. Let’s make sure to continue our efforts in the weeks and months to come. Even as the fast-moving news cycle leaves Houston behind, the rest of us should remain active.

Even before Sandy hit Long Island 58 months ago, the Red Cross was on the ground, setting up an emergency shelter in the Nassau Community College gym in Garden City. For weeks, Red Cross workers patrolled the hardest-hit communities, delivering clothes, flashlights, and food and water to thousands of residents who desperately needed those basic necessities.

Donating to the Red Cross is among the most popular ways to help with the Harvey relief effort. Go to www.redcross.org, and you’ll find the “Donate Now” button front and center.

There are also many Texas-based organizations that are offering relief, and would welcome your donation. Among them are:

• The Houston Food Bank: www.houstonfoodbank.org

• The Galveston County Food Bank: www.galvestoncountyfoodbank.org

• The Corpus Christi Food Bank: www.foodbankcc.com

• The Houston Coalition for the Homeless: www.homelesshouston.org

• The SPCA of Texas: www.spca.org/waystogive

• Catholic Charities of Galveston and Houston: www.catholiccharities.org

• Austin Disaster Relief Network: www.adrn.org/disaster-relief/hurricaneharvey/.