September 5, 2017: Blue Santa is asking Austin to do a Texas Toy Drive!
In an effort to provide support and comfort to children throughout the state of Texas who have been displaced from their homes as a result of Hurricane Harvey, Mayor Steve Adler is asking the Austin community to come together and donate the items listed below to ensure every child has the opportunity to continue being a kid during this difficult time.
The Mayor is asking for the community to donate new toys, board games, playing cards, sports balls, crayons/markers/colored pencils, arts and crafts sets, coloring books, and puzzles. Please avoid including any toy weapons, glitter, glue, or food items. We encourage the community to secure items for children of all ages, from infants to teenagers.
This donation drive is being conducted in partnership with Operation Blue Santa. Donations will be focused on supporting children in disaster relief locally and state-wide. If any additional donations are not utilized to support children during relief efforts they will be made available to families in our community that are in need this holiday season.
Donations will be accepted through Friday, September 15. For more information, you can visit the Blue Santa webpage at www.bluesanta.org or call at 512-974-BLUE.
Drop Off Location:
Blue Santa Warehouse
4101 S. Industrial Drive, #260
Austin, TX 78744
Hours: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday – Friday
District 6 NW Office is also accepting donations. Drop off here:
10401 Anderson Mill RD Suite 101 (next to Shipley’s Donuts)
M-W-F 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
T-Th 4 – 7 p.m.
Austin-based Go! Retail Group is offering a special of 30% off all games, toys, and puzzles for donation to Operation Blue Santa. They’re also accepting new game and toy donations at all 5 of their local-area retail stores. Any donations purchased online here will be delivered directly to Operation Blue Santa. Donations will be accepted through September 15.
The company has also committed to providing a teddy-bear for each purchased donation, with a commitment to donate up to 5,000 teddy-bears to kids in need of special comfort.
Drop Off Locations:
Go! Games and Toys stores at:
- Barton Creek Square, 2901 S Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin, TX 78746, 512-362-8292
- Lakeline Mall, 11200 Lakeline Mall Dr, Cedar Park, TX 78613, 512-215-0384
- Round Rock Premium Outlets, 4401 North I-35, Round Rock, TX 78664, 512-763-8010
- San Marcos Premium Outlets, 3939 IH-35 S, San Marcos, TX 78666, 512-392-2872
- San Marcos Tanger Outlet, 4015 IH 35, San Marcos, TX 78666, 512-368-4121
Toy Joy just started offering a Texas Toy Drive special. If you buy a toy from them for the Harvey kids, they’ll not only knock 25% off the price, but they will make sure the toy gets delivered to the Austin Police Operation Blue Santa for you! Didn’t buy a toy from them? Don’t worry about it. You can still drop it off there:
- 403 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701
August 30, 2017: The community needed 5,000 to 6,000 welcome kits to distribute to shelter occupants in Austin — BUT YOU DID IT AND WE DON’T NEED ANY MORE! Great job, Austin!
What else can I do?
The best ways to help right now (Austin/Travis County Emergency Operations Center):
- Individuals, groups, and corporations should consider making a cash donation to a recognized relief organization.
- A list of local organizations accepting non-cash donations is located at: http://www.austintexas.gov/help
- Corporations that want to help survivors can offer their assistance here: https://www.nvoad.org/hurricane-harvey/corporate-donations/
- Donate to Relief Organizations: Relief organizations are doing everything from providing food and shelter to helping with evacuation and rescue support. Donations increase the capacity of these organizations to provide assistance to the affected areas. Further, cash donations offer the most flexibility to address urgently developing needs. When choosing an organization to donate to, there are a variety of options locally and nationally.
- Barnraiser’s Texas Farmer-Rancher Disaster Relief Fund: Donate here to help relieve financial stress for Texas farmers and ranchers.
- Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund: This fund was established by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and will go toward the city’s rebuilding efforts. Visit ghcf.org to make a credit card donation. Send checks or money orders to Greater Houston Community Foundation, 5120 Woodway Drive, Suite 6000, Houston, TX 77056.
- Austin Ed Fund: Austin ISD is enrolling children impacted by Hurricane Harvey that have evacuated to Austin. Donate to Austin Ed Fund to help displaced students and families recover from the impact of Hurricane Harvey: http://www.austinedfund.org/harvey/
- United Way of Greater Houston Relief Fund: This fund also helps meet storm-related needs and recovery in the Houston community. Donations are accepted here: https://www.unitedwayhouston.org/flood/flood-donation/
- American Red Cross: Red Cross is helping victims on the national level. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text HARVEY to 90999. Stay updated on the Red Cross Central and South Texas shelters here: https://redcrosscstr.wordpress.com/.
- The Salvation Army: Salvation Army disaster teams from across the country will travel to communities affected by the storm and provide care to survivors and relief workers. Donate to the cause via HELPSALVATIONARMY.org or text STORM to 51555.
- Catholic Church USA: Another national organization, Catholic Charities USA is accepting donations to fund recovery efforts including direct assistance, rebuilding, and healthcare services. Text CCUSADISASTER to 71777 to donate
- Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund: Go here to support a classroom in a community affected by the storm. This fund will help teachers restock their classrooms with materials such as books, furniture, and supplies.
- GoFundMe Campaigns: GoFundMe has compiled a list of Harvey-related campaigns that have been created since the storm: https://www.gofundme.com/hurricaneharvey
- Donate Blood: We Are Blood is encouraging anyone interested in donating blood to visit their website www.weareblood.org or to call 512-206-1266 to make an appointment to donate.
- Offer a Room: Evacuees and people whose houses have been destroyed are in need of shelter. The City is opening public shelters, but you can help house evacuees too.
- Airbnb has created a portal just for Hurricane Harvey survivors and is waiving all fees for those offering up their homes. Call 1-855-424-7262 or go here.
- The Jewish Federation of San Antonio has created this survey for those interested in offering housing to people in need.
- Volunteer in Affected Areas: National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and the Texas VOAD both provide links to those who wish to register to volunteer with organizations working in the field. Volunteer Houston is requesting that people sign up to volunteer in Houston via the agency disaster portal. The State of Texas is asking volunteers to not self-deploy, as unexpectedly showing up to any of the communities that have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey will create an additional burden for first responders.
- Volunteer Locally: You can browse GivePulse.com for volunteer opportunities with lots of Central Texas agencies. There are no current needs for Central & South Texas Region of the American Red Cross volunteers, due to overwhelming support in the Austin region.
- Donate to the Austin Diaper Bank: Austin Diaper Bank has given over 5,000 diapers to Hurricane Harvey victims. You can help by donating diapers at their warehouse or at one of their drop-off locations, or by making a monetary donation. They are in need of diapers of all sizes and wipes. Visit www.austindiapers.org to find a drop-off location or to make a donation.
- Donate to Driscoll Children’s Hospital in the Corpus Christi Area: http://www.driscollchildrens.org/giving
- Donate to Food Banks: Donating money to food banks in affected areas is a safe and effective way to contribute to relief efforts. Cleaning supplies and food donations are also appreciated. Visit https://www.feedingtexas.org/help/ to find the food bank in your zip code. Central Texas Food Bank is accepting donations here. Because this food bank was unharmed in the storm, it will become an integral point in the recovery for resources via Feeding Texas.
- Donate by Shopping and Dining: Several Austin businesses are turning customer profits into donations for hurricane relief efforts.
- H-E-B and Central Market stores statewide are accepting customer donations, which will be split between Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Feeding Texas. Shoppers can choose to add $1, $3, or $5 to their bill at checkout.
- Buy a ticket to one of these benefits happening in Austin, compiled by Austin 360.
- Donate to Texas SPCA, Austin Animal Center or Austin Pets Alive!: These organizations are accepting monetary donations.
- Stay Informed and Up-to-Date: Needs of the crisis will change over time.
For future needs, register with the Red Cross.
How do I stay updated on the storm?
Visit AustinTexas.gov/help for the most up-to-date information.
Call 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 for shelter information.
Register at WarnCentralTexas.org to receive the latest emergency notices and advisories. Residents are asked to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. Remember to observe road signs and closures to stay up-to-date on the latest weather conditions. Avoid the hazards of walking or driving through flood waters.
Where are the shelters?
Find shelters nationally: http://www.redcross.org/get-help/disaster-relief-and-recovery-services/find-an-open-shelter
Find shelters locally: https://redcrosscstr.wordpress.com/
Check the status of people in shelters: https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php
Connect with Austinites offering up space in their homes: https://www.facebook.com/groups/733272750192242/
Need to get in touch with FEMA for Harvey-related assistance? Call 800-621-3362 or visit http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov
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