How to help Scouts and Scouters affected by Hurricane Harvey

When disaster strikes, the Scouting community rallies to help those in need.

This was true when an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in 2011, Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeast in 2012, and tornadoes tore through Texas and Oklahoma in 2013.

This week, Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh shared ways that members of the BSA family can help those affected by historic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Because the situation along the Texas coast is still developing, first responders aren’t requesting in-person volunteers at this time. So while your well-intentioned instincts might be to show up and offer support, it’s still too early for that.

Instead, the best way to help — for those willing and able — is by offering financial support.

How to offer help with food and shelter

To provide immediate support for food and shelter needs in the area, Surbaugh and the BSA encourage you to donate directly to the American Red Cross and/or Salvation Army:

  • American Red Cross: Donate online at redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
  • Salvation Army: Donate online at helpsalvationarmy.org; by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY; or via mail to: The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 1959, Atlanta GA 30301

How to help those affected within the BSA

You can give to a special BSA fund established to help those councils most affected by the flooding, including:

  • Sam Houston Area Council (based in Houston)
  • Three Rivers Council (Beaumont)
  • Bay Area Council (Galveston)
  • South Texas Council (Corpus Christi)
  • Alamo Area Council (San Antonio)
  • Capitol Area Council (Austin)

Donations can be designated for specific councils or shared among all affected councils. All donations will be used to help rebuild and restore BSA facilities and programs.

“We are working with the leadership teams of these local councils to make sure their staffs and families are safe,” Surbaugh said in a letter to BSA employees. “We are also getting input on property damage at council offices and camps. As the storms continue in the area, we will continuously evaluate the needs of our people and facilities.”

29 Comments

    • My pack would like to help a pack in need with cloths and care packages. How do I find someone that can put me in touch with a pack to adopt?

    • Sam Houston Area Council
      2225 N Loop West
      Houston Texas 77008-1311
      Council isn’t expecting to reopen till at least September 5th. Thank you.

      • While this may be true, a more friendly answer would be better.
        REMEMBER: The Scout Oath and Law should not pertain just to scouts. Adult Lesders, and Staff for District up to National should try to abide by it as well.

  1. There will come a day when you scout uniform will be work boots, leather gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask as you help ALL your neighbors with clean-up and restoration. Provide what you can supporting the victims of Harvey today because your working uniform will come tomorrow.

    • Hi, I am desperately looking for a group to help a very elderly couple (WWII vet) in the Kingwood/Humble area. How can I find info for a boy scout troop in that area that might be willing to help. This couple needs help with cleaning out their house and ripping out carpet. They are currently stuck in a hotel in another city. Thank you, Debbie

  2. And please avoid getting your units involved in any collections of “stuff”. Despite the good intentions, It just gets in the way of disaster relief efforts.

    I witnessed giant piles of used clothing sitting in the rain during Hurricane Andrew and food rotting in trailers during 9/11.

    Cash donations are infinitely more useful through the well known charity of your choice.

    This from a BSA ADC and longtime Red Cross Disaster Services volunteer

    https://www.nvoad.org/hurricane-harvey/hurricane-harvey-how-to-help/

    • As a Scout leader and a Red Cross Disaster Services volunteer who has taken shelter management courses and helped in numerous disasters, I think most Scout Camps would be pretty poor disaster shelters. If the local government OEM has them surveyed and tasked in advance under the ESF 6 Mass Care Annex of their Emergency Plan, then by all means, support the local OEM.

      But safe and secure shelters mean a lot more than a roof. It means pre-planned sanitation, feeding, medical care, shower facilities, supplies, and trained disaster relief personnel to supervise them.

      • In 2008 flood recovery in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Howard H Cherry Scout Reservation provided sleeping quarters for AmeriCorps workers who were assisting in the clean-up. This is a service many camps could provide that wouldn’t require extra arrangements. Food was provided at the work sites so the only need was to provide cots/mattresses and maybe a pot of coffee!

    • Twenty five years is an awful long time to hold a grudge.
      Can you name an organization who has undergone the same level of scrutiny of ARC and has been found to actually give 100% of donations to relief efforts?

      • 25 years may be long, but they renewed the doubt after every disaster. Just search the web for “Red Cross, Harvey, Katrina, Haiti.”

        I’ve tried to give them a chance for disaster relief, but they seem to ruin it on their own.

        As I stated before, they are a good organization, just not in this aspect.

  3. Prayers for all the scout troops and packs affected by this storm. I intend to talk to my troop and see if any are interested in giving to the councils shown on the blog. Be safe everyone!

    Polly Sands
    COR
    Troop 129
    Washington WV

  4. Are you serious BSA? You’re asking for money to be donated to a special BSA fund where it will be used to rebuild BSA facilities when there are hungry, homeless and unsheltered people in the area?

    • Please pay attention to the order in which I listed the charities: food and shelter first, BSA rebuilding next. The BSA fund was included in response to dozens of emails and calls the BSA has received about people wanting to help. When one part of the BSA family needs a hand, others step up in a big way.

  5. Please make the following considerations when helping in the relief effort:

    1. Safety of the scouts and leaders needs to be the first consideration. The flood waters are heavily contaminated. Immersion, even just up to your ankles, poses a risk of infection, even staph infection, which can be serious or even life-threatening. Travel to and from the affected areas can be dangerous. Parents also need to be aware of the situations in which their kids will be placed.

    2. Scouts are limited in what they can do re fund-raising. Helping out in shelters would be more appropriate, as long as there is discipline and qualified supervision. Make sure there is a structure and a coordinated effort. Just being there makes people “feel good”, but if it doesn’t get anything accomplished,it may be doing more harm than good.

    3. Collecting goods is fine for the Scouting for Food program. At this time, it causes more overhead for the sorting. Money can be leveraged to buy in bulk the actual supplies and foodstuffs that are needed.

    4. To keep your money local, donate local.You might support the national organization over the year, but to make sure your money stays local during the crisis, donate local

    Don’t forget that Texas is not the only area affected. Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky also are feeling the effects of this storm. There is also a low in the Gulf, and a hurricane in the Atlantic. We are not out of the woods, so to speak, yet

  6. Bear den 6 in Pack 406 Mellville / South Huntington NY checking in. We are collecting new packaged socks and underwear that will be donated to Island Harvest and shipped down. Our hearts go out to all affected and prayers continue for recovery efforts. Very true, as we approach the height of hurricane season, I am afraid with Irma headed toward Puerto Rico and possibly the south east, we are just amping up. Stay safe all.

  7. Youcaring.com/jjwatt
    JJ Watt set up a fundraiser where 100% goes back to the people.

    The 1st day of sunshine, we went door to door for supplies for our local shelters. Almost every house donated can good meals. We had to drive to 4 different shelters to find one to take it. It’s amazing how fast our communities came together for it. Most shelters have enough volunteers, except maybe the downtown ones.
    Today we are buying school supplies for our local school district. They actually asked for that and for cleaning supplies, cat/dog food, ect.
    When my son walked in to the shelter with his uniform on, 3 boys came rushing up screaming it’s a cub scout. They were scouts that were affected by the storm. I gave my # to the parents and said if they needed any help, let us know.

  8. May I also suggest that one may also donate to the many relief funds that our major religious denominations maintain. I know that the Baptists, Christian Church(Disciples of Christ), Methodists, United Church of Christ, and the Catholic Church all have relief funds for the purpose of supporting folks in the disaster areas.

  9. Can you house a family if your in another state. I can’t leave my house to help I wish I could. I don’t have extra money to send but I do have a empty room with a big bed. I couldn’t take a man. I’m sorry safety first. But a single mother that was renting in area. If so who would I contact to get more info. I think this would ‘ve a great way for a mother to get back on her feet in a less stressful situation. I have a lot of experience in losing everything and stating over.

  10. My Long Island Cub Scouts want to send their new toys and clothes to a cub scout group in Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey. Where can they send it to?
    from, Andrea

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