When I mentioned that I was going to a friend she asked me, "Volunteering with a specific group? Otherwise you're an a**hole getting in the way" and we're not looking to be a**holes in the way or disaster tourists. I'm going with a general contractor, firefighter, and a security contractor. All the guys I'm going with know their stuff and we're loading two trucks with as much supplies as we can fit. Food, clothes, toiletries, building/repair supplies, rescue/emergency supplies, and any day to day items that might be hard to come by.
We're buying everything out of pocket. Everything we're bringing will either be donated by a handful of local organizations/businesses or paid for by us. If anyone in the Denver/Boulder/Colorado Springs area would like to donate physical items, please let me know asap. If you're reading this from somewhere else in the country, $5 is a 24 pack of water, $20 is a pack of socks and underwear, $50 is multiple racks of non-perishable food, $100 is one truck's gas down, $1000 is two car batteries, a new door for someone's house, and food for a family for a week. Everyone going has the time and means to do so, but the more we receive in donations, the more we can give back. Any fiscal donations that we are unable to find a direct use for while in Texas will be donated to charities continuing relief efforts after we're gone.
There's a ton of completely legitimate organizations to donate to who are working tirelessly on relief and rescue efforts, and I by no means aim to undermine their missions or necessity, but we're going to help where they're not set up to. We're going to help as many individuals as we can. After Sandy I saw that aid organizations had an excess of volunteers and got a ton of donations but they were bogged down with red tape. Mountains of clothes and canned food went into distribution centers which a lot of people didn't know existed. Meanwhile John Doe 4 miles away could really use some socks, briefs, a toothbrush, and a stick of beef jerky.
Individuals need help boarding up windows, getting around, starting their cars, moving felled trees, and tasks as simple as charging phones. Almost all of which FEMA/Red Cross/AmeriCorps simply aren't set up to do. We have local contacts who are already looking to place us and put us to work on specific projects.
Please let me know if there's any way anyone is interested in helping and thanks for taking the time to read this.