City, county officials giving back in the wake of Harvey

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey and the mass flooding in Texas, city and county officials are seeing a chance to pay it forward.

Richland County is just two years removed from historic rain and flooding that dumped over 20 inches of rain in some parts of the city.

“Looking at the pictures and videos coming out of Southeast Texas this week, we know what these families and communities feel because we’ve been through it,” Columbia Mayor Steven Benjamin said in a statement. “We want the people of Southeast Texas to know that they aren’t alone. Just like the thousands who stood with us two years ago, we will help those in need.”

Benjamin announced a unified effort to provide relief for those affected by Harvey and more than 20 organizations have joined in collecting donations to help those in need.

The groups are asking for cleaning supplies, clean clothes, non-perishable food and personal hygiene items. You can drop them off across the city. The full list of drop-off locations is available here.

In addition, a text message to give platform has been created to help raise money for disaster relief efforts on the ground. Residents can donate to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund by texting HARVEY to 662266 or visiting

Richland County Council Chair Joyce Dickerson said in a statement, “Our experience with life disruption due to massive flooding is still raw, we know what these communities are going through. The Richland County Emergency Services Department is in communication with statewide emergency officials, and it stands at the ready to offer assistance if and when a call for help comes.”

Congressman Jim Clyburn has given a list of trustworthy organizations South Carolinians can feel confident in donating to including:

American Red Cross
Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County
Houston Food Bank
Texas Diaper Bank
SPCA of Texas
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, established by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner

Richland County Sherriff Leon Lott announced his department’s donation of $15,295 that was collected Thursday at its Decker Boulevard substation. The donation will be presented to the Harris County Texas Sheriff’s Dept.

“So often during times of devastation, our first responders have to place their and their family’s needs on the backburner,” Lott said. “This is a small gesture that will go a long way towards recognizing their sacrifice as well.”

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation announced its commitment of $20 million in support of relief efforts. This includes $10 million focused on support of American Red Cross shelters and $2 million in support of the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund at the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

BB&T announced it is contributing $100,000 to the American Red Cross of Greater Houston in Texas to help support disaster relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Shipments of humanitarian supplies are also underway to assist in the recovery.

“The unprecedented flooding resulting from Hurricane Harvey is causing hardships for many of our associates and clients in the greater Houston region,” said chairman and CEO Kelly S. King. “Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this storm, and we’re hopeful this donation will help begin the rebuilding process.”

Charwood Country Club in West Columbia said it will be donating a portion of green fees to the hurricane relief beginning today and through Monday.

Columbia Business Report