How To Help: More WNY Hurricane Relief Efforts Added

The Latest: Pixie Mama Pet Rescue, City of Dunkirk, Salvation Army

Dave Debo
August 30, 2017 - 6:22 am

AP Photo

 (WBEN)  Charities in WNY and across the nation are stepping up their donation requests in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

If your organization is sponsoring a relief event that is not on this list, send  an email to with all the details about time, place and what you are collecting. Please include local contact information to verify your efforts. 

To learn more about how to make sure you are donating wisely, click here for advice from the Better Business Bureau


The City of Dunkirk is looking for items to send to the flood zone,  collecting new clothing and toys, pillows, blankets, toilet paper, hand towels, paper plates & cups, first aid kits, and canned goods. From their Facebook page, here's the announcement:

The City of Dunkirk Planning & Development Department working in collaboration with Mike Ferguson of Fredonia Place and Agricultural Transport have agreed to collect donated goods for the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas.

A Portable On Demand Storage unit will be located at the City Pier and will be manned on Thursday from 5-9pm during Music on the Pier, weekdays from 5-7pm, and weekends from 11am-1pm until the tractor trailer is full.Agricultural Transport, Co. will transport all donated items to Houston for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

The City of Dunkirk and Mike Ferguson would like to thank Al Shaw and Jerry Bertges for the use of their warehouse for storage before distribution, as well as City Clerk Edwin Ramos.
For more information, please contact Mike Ferguson at (716) 627-8999


Buffalo Bills and Sabres Pitch In:

Buffalo Bills Defensive End Jerry Hughes said he will donate $25,000 to relief efforts, along with $5,000 for every sack he records this season. Meanwhile, Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian will be using his Bogo Bunch charity to raise money for Houston.


The SPCA Serving Erie County is preparing to bring in animals from shelters in Southeast Texas, so those shelters have room to take in pets from the flood zone. READ MORE  

Spokesperson Gina Browning tells WBEN that there is a possibility that some animals from Greater Houston will be available for adoption here, and eventually staffers will be sent to the region to help run emergency shelters as needed.  HEAR MORE HERE


The pet rescue group Pixie Mamas is gathering pet food and supplies to take down to the flood zone, and expects to return with adoptable animals. 
Items may be dropped off any afternoon at any Oogie Games location.

The group is also taking cash donations via PayPal here


The Salvation Army is preparing to send WNY staffers into the flood zone as needed and is collecting money for relief efforts .

At The Salvation Army in Buffalo, Major Tom Applin expects to see local Salvation Army staffers called up shortly and is on standby; typically the  organization pulls first responders from the area near the disaster zone first. 

Like  most national charities - they say monetary donations are much more beneficial. Applin says it has a lot to do with logistics, but is also a philosophical choice.

"We like to keep the local economy going and if we have money and purchase locally that helps the economy there when things are so devastating. But beyond that it's a way of making sure you have the things that people need. You could end up with warehouses and warehouses and warehouses of stuff that perhaps people (don't). It's just not practical," Applin says.

Donations can be made online at or  via phone at 800 Sal Army ( 800- 725-2769) . Checks payable to the Salvation Army and marked Hurricane Harvey can be mailed to The Salvation Army Buffalo, 960 Main Street, Buffalo NY 14202.  And if you text the word "Storm" to 51555 your mobile carrier will bill a $10 donation.  


The Wesleyan Church of Hamburg is taking donations of generators, batteries, box fans, extension cords and basic tools to help their partners at Eight Days of Hope move in and begin rebuilding efforts.

"We're just trying to be as immediate as we can. This stuff will be on the ground, in Texas, within the next two weeks, " says Matt Gould, the church's communications director.

No clothing or water is being taken yet. 

"Eight Days of Hope is very, very specific in their relief efforts. They will go down and for example, just re-build homes. As a part of that, it is sometimes easier for them to get specific materials from people rather than take the time to purchase it, and that's why this list is so short,"  Gould says.

Donations may be left at The Hub, the church's youth center at 4999 McKinley Parkway, Hamburg at these times:

  • Thursday: 6 pm- 9 pm
  • Friday: 12 pm - 3 pm
  • Sunday: 9 am- 1 pm

Gould says Eight Days is also taking monetary donations, at the link above, and is recruiting  volunteers from the church and other places in WNY. 

RELATED AUDIO: Hear Buffalo native Steve Tybor, President, Eight Days of Hope

The Red Cross of Western And Central New York is recruiting volunteers and taking cash donations. 

They have 47 volunteers from the region on the ground in Texas, but could always use more. They also have three of the region's emergency response vehicles enroute, preparing to give food and water and blankets to those in need. Volunteers also help with medical and emotional support,

"We are always looking for volunteers. I can't promise that they would be able to go to Texas, because all those volunteers do have Red Cross training and experience. But we can start that ball rolling, and if it doesn't move quickly enough to get to Texas, you could not only be ready for the next storm, but help us. We respond on average to one house fire every day in Western New York.. those disasters are every bit as traumatic for those families," says Jay Bonafede, Communications Director for the Red Cross of Western and Central New York. 

Like most charities, the Red Cross prefers cash donations, because it is easier to transfer than a pallet of water bottles or a truckload of drywall.  

"We know that Americans want to do everything they can to help, and especially here in Western New York and the City of Good Neighbors. Unfortunately, collecting and sending food, clothing, other items like that can sometimes do more harm than good," Bonafede says. 

"For the Red Cross, we're not equipped. We don't have the time or money to sort, store, distribute and do everything with those donated items. We just do not have those resources, whereas financial donations let us get what's needed- the cots, the people, the blankets, the food - everything directly where it needs to go as quickly as possible," he says.

Direct donations came be made via or by calling 1-800- RED-CROSS  (800-733-2767). Apple users in the U.S. can also donate to the American Red Cross through the company’s iTunes and app stores. Amounts range from $5 to $200, and you can’t use store credit.

The Red Cross also accepts text donations via your mobile device.  If you text the word "Harvey" to 90999 your carrier will charge you $10 and send the donation.

While the text option appeals to the automatic impulse to donate, there are some delays, according to Stacy Palmer, an editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy.  Palmer says charities have to wait for the phone companies to release the money.The quickest way to give is to go to the charity’s website and donate directly, using a credit or debit card. That said, relief agencies will need money beyond first few days or even weeks, so if the ease of text donations appeals to you, tap away.

Crowdfunding:  Group fundraising services such as GoFundMe let people raise money for friends, families, neighbors or themselves — as well as for charity. As always, do your homework before giving to a stranger or cause online.  GoFundMe has a special page for Hurricane Harvey pleas for charities, individuals and families. GlobalGiving, a crowdfunding site for charities, is trying to raise $2 million for local relief and recovery efforts.


 We’ve compiled the following list from news reports and charities’ websites.  Inclusion in this list is not an endorsement by GuideStar, but if you’re not sure which organization(s) you want to support, here are a few suggestions for giving to disaster relief and recovery that may help.

ACAM   |  All Hands Volunteers  | American Red Cross  | Americares  | Austin Pets Alive!  | Catholic Charities USA | Center for Disaster Philanthropy |  Central Texas Food Bank  | Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group  |  Convoy of Hope  | Direct Relief  |, Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund  | Food Bank of Corpus Christi  |  Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley  | Global Giving, Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund | Greater Houston Community Foundation, Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund | Houston Food Bank | Houston Humane Society | Humane Society of the United States | International Relief Teams  | Matthew 25: Ministries  |  Mercury One |  Operation BlessingPortlight |  Salvation Army | Samaritan’s Purse | San Antonio Food Bank | San Antonio Humane Society, Harvey's Heroes | San Antonio Pets Alive! | Save the Children Federation  | SBP | Southeast Texas Food Bank | Texas Diaper Bank | UJA Federation New York, Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund | United Way of Greater Houston


From The Associated Press:

Give to established relief agencies: GuideStar’s website has a database that lets you vet charities. You can find information on a charity’s expenses, assets and revenue, as well as its programs.

 Stacy Palmer at the Chronicle of Philanthropy also suggests looking at a charity’s website for information on how it will use donations. And look through local news reports for information on a charity’s work, or contact the local United Way and the local Community Foundation — in this case Houston’s. 

It’s up to you whether to go with a local charity that might know the area better, or a national charity that has wider reach. Palmer says “both kinds of organizations have their place right now.”

Be aware of Timing:  Donations often pour in immediately after disaster strikes but peter out during the long recovery process. While there are a lot of immediate needs, Palmer says, “charities are going to need support on the long haul.”

Consider saving some of your money so you can donate again in a few weeks or months. Better yet, set up a recurring monthly donation to support your chosen charity over time.

Some charities will say when they have raised enough for a particular disaster and use any extra money for their general fund, Palmer says. This isn't’t bad.

“One of the things this disaster shows is that it’s important to have resilience,” she says. “It’s smart to just give and say that it can be used wherever it’s most needed.”

Hold off on most material donations:  After Superstorm Sandy in 2012, for example, reports cited relief agencies not knowing what to do with the piles of clothing and other unsolicited items pouring in.

The U.S. Center for Disaster Information says such donations “require transportation — which is expensive and logistically complicated — and a pre-identified recipient on the ground who will receive the shipment, pay customs and other fees, sort and distribute the items.”

Unsolicited goods, the agency says , are “never required in early stages of response, and they compete with priority relief items for transportation and storage.”

It doesn't’t mean there will never be a time or place for such donations — check with relief agencies as time passes.

Consider Special Needs: Seniors, the disabled, children and even pets are particularly vulnerable during disasters. Consider donating to charities that focus on addressing their needs.

The Texas Diaper Bank, for example, says diapers (whether for babies or adults) are not provided by disaster relief agencies. Again, these charities need money — not boxes of diapers you picked up at Costco. 

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