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Houston Nonprofits Are Already Gearing Up to Help People Impacted By Hurricane Ida

The Houston Food Bank and Southern Smoke, among other organizations, are already mobilizing to get food and aid to those in need

A line of volunteers assembling green bags of groceries at the Houston Food Bank
Houston Food Bank volunteers packing food bags.
Houston Food Bank/Facebook
Amy McCarthy is a reporter at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

One day after Hurricane Ida made a category-4 impact on the Gulf coast of Louisiana, Houston nonprofits are already springing into action to help those impacted by the storm.

On Monday, staff at the Houston Food Bank were in the early stages of assessing how best they can assist Louisianans in the aftermath of Ida. The organization is already seeking volunteers to help pack disaster boxes, which contain food and other essential supplies, so that they can be quickly deployed to meet the need once locals on the ground in Louisiana are able to accept help.

After hitting the Gulf Coast on Sunday afternoon, Ida brought 140 mile-per-hour winds and intense storm surges to New Orleans and more rural areas of the Louisiana coast, causing widespread power outages and property damage. Hundreds of thousands of people across the region are still without power, and officials are currently in the process of assessing the damage caused by the storm.

Southern Smoke, the Houston-based nonprofit organization that assists service industry workers in times of crisis, is also gearing up to help both workers and restaurant owners. In a post to his official Facebook page, Southern Smoke founder and chef Chris Shepherd encouraged hospitality workers impacted by the storm to apply for funds that can help them meet both immediate and long-term needs. “This storm will have a longer impact than most of us will ever know. We are sorry to those that are having to fear the status of their restaurants, homes, cars, shifts, [and] crops,” Shepherd wrote. “We’re here for the long-term costs associated with this crisis and all crises. Lost wages from the storm, damage to your home, your car. Heath and mental health issues. We can help.”

Those who are interested in volunteering to pack disaster boxes at the Houston Food Bank can sign up via the organization’s website for a shift to sort necessities and pack boxes — morning, afternoon, and evening shifts are available. Southern Smoke is also accepting donations via its website.

Is your restaurant or nonprofit organization hosting a fundraiser or providing support to victims of Hurricane Ida? Drop us a line with the details at