The Central Texas fires have become the area's most devastating natural disaster in living memory. While the behavior of the blaze is changing by the minute, the response of local charities and state agencies remains steadfast. Here's how you can help them help others.
• As in all such disasters, the charity of first resort is the Red Cross. The American Red Cross of Central Texas is running evacuation shelters in Bastrop, Giddings, and Smithville. It's a charity, not a government agency, and depends completely on your generosity. www.centex.redcross.org.
• The Capital Area Food Bank of Texas is receiving donations of nonperishable food items in Austin at its warehouse, 8201 S. Congress, as well as at the Bastrop Emergency Food Pantry, 1201 Pine St., Bastrop; Caring Place, 2000 Railroad St., Georgetown; and two locations in Round Rock: the Round Rock Serving Center, 1099 E. Main St., and St. Vincent de Paul Round Rock, 620 Round Rock West Dr. They especially need water, drinks, ready-to-eat meals that don't require refrigeration, healthy snacks like granola bars, baby formula, and diapers. www.austinfoodbank.org/how-to-help.
• Make clothing donations to St. Vincent de Paul at its South Congress store, 1327 S. Congress, or at its Yager Collection Center, 818 W. Yager. www.svdpstoreaustin.org.
• BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar, is accepting cash donations for the Red Cross and will be donating a portion of all sales to the charity through Sept. 9. www.bookpeople.com.
• The Austin Humane Society, 124 W. Anderson, and Austin Pets Alive!, 2807 Manchaca Rd., fostered out all of their animals so they could accept displaced pets from the Bastrop County Animal Control and Shelter. Both agencies are in desperate need of donations to stock up for their extra visitors, plus AHS is still recovering from replacing its air conditioning unit. www.austinpetsalive.org/donate-now, www.austinhumanesociety.org.
• The majority of the firefighting in rural and unincorporated areas is done by volunteer firefighters. The state cut their budgets dramatically during the last legislative session, but the Texas Forest Service has established the VFD Emergency Assistance Fund to help support these local bodies (100% of all donations will be given out in grants). The Forest Service is also providing timber recovery assistance for people who have lost standing trees. txforestservice.tamu.edu.
For more, see austinchronicle.com/wildfires.
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