As a member of the Hershey community and former CEO of The Hershey Trust Company, I have spearheaded several philanthropic and charitable endeavors and programs for the area; I am no stranger to philanthropy. I embrace it. And the events that are unfolding in Texas are absolutely tragic; they are a reminder of just how powerful our planet can be. But they can also be just as good a reminder of how humanity can always come together to persevere. We’ve done it several times before; September 11th, Hurricane Katrina and the Boston bombings are all examples of how we, as a country, bounced back.


With that being said, I wanted to suggest a few ways that you can help those who are struggling and suffering in Texas.


First and foremost, the most important organizations that you will want to focus on are the local organizations. These are the charities and nonprofits that operate in and around Houston. A few notable ones include the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, the Houston Food Bank and Food Bank of Corpus Christi and the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center.


There are several other national organizations that you can donate to, like the American Red Cross, Direct Relief and Save the Children.


Another viable, but admittedly limited option, is to visit any local shelters, food banks or relief organizations and personally donate your time, instead of your money. This is a much more viable option for residents of Houston, Texas, or any neighboring states/cities. If you feel so inclined, it would be a tremendous act of nobility to travel from a distant state and provide relief.


I should note that, should you choose to donate money, be wary of scams and fraudulent websites. Avoid any unsolicited emails or messages from organizations claiming to provide relief and double check an organization’s legitimacy through any number of charity review sites like


Finally, it should be noted that Florida has also been impacted greatly by another hurricane. Hurricane Irma has wreaked havoc on Southern Florida. Remember to keep the area in your thoughts and to donate what you can!


Hurricanes like this are an absolute travesty, but it is up to us to band together and help out our fellow man. Do your part in donating to the victims of Hurricane Harvey and keep an eye out for the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.