Sending help to Houston from the Stateline, Red Cross encouragin - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Sending help to Houston from the Stateline, Red Cross encouraging cash donations

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

The wrath from Hurricane Harvey left tens of thousands of people with their homes underwater and searching for help.

"We've watched the images and video that have come back from the Houston community and the destruction that has happened in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and our hearts ache," Josh Pague a pastor with the Heartland Church says.

Back here at home, the Red Cross and local churches say they've already sprung into action. 

"We've been overwhelmed with the generosity of donors and volunteers that are willing to be deployed to Houston and help," Lisa La Sala with the Northwestern Illinois Red Cross says.  

While the Red Cross says the number of people from the Stateline willing to help in Houston is positive, they warn sending too much help could hinder progress down south --at least for right now. 

"It's very dangerous and when they get there, they're using their resources such as hotels that the residents really need there," La Sala says. 

Instead, it urges organizations to wait and keep in touch with Houston officials about specific needs in their area. Rock Church is one group that plans to send teams in the next few months. 

"After the first wave of volunteers come in and they go back home what can we do then to come in and provide support on a long term basis," Randy Young, the pastor with Rock Church says. 

Other churches are collecting donations. They're asking for diapers, shampoo, soap, personal care items anything that can offer immediate relief. 

"Many of the stores you and I would go to pick up something as simple as diapers for our kids -- those too are flooded and those families down there have very tangible needs," Pague says.

But, the Red Cross says the best way to offer help is through a cash donation. That way relief groups can buy exactly what victims need while keeping those dollars in Houston. 

"Businesses are closed and people around there aren't working so stimulating will really help them," La Sala says.

Getting the most out of donations from the Stateline -- it's a way organizations say Stateliners can make the biggest impact.

To make a 10 dollar donation to the American Red Cross-- just text Harvey to 9-0-9-9-9. Another group you can text a donation to is the United Way. Text U-W-Flood to 4-1-4-4-4.

Click here to find a full list of organization to donate to hurricane victims. 

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