Tropical Storm Harvey took a heavy toll on southeastern Texas this weekend, affecting nearly 7 million people in 18 counties, according to federal disaster declarations. More than 2,000 people had to be rescued by city police and fire in Houston alone after flood waters swept through the nation's fourth-largest city, according to the Associated Press. Thousands more were forced to flee to the city. As the region braces for continued rainfall that could total 50 inches before the storm ends, here's how you can help those affected:

You Can Help…Donate Blood

In trauma care…blood is not optional. Blood centers are experiencing a supply shortage because of the closure of some blood banks along the Texas coast and the demand stemming from injuries sustained in the storm. Centers have put out calls for extra donors to help deal with the aftermath. Not only is the blood supply threatened for those who are directly affected by the storm, but the hospitals in the region that need blood for the patients already in care are also affected. The summer months are always a time where blood centers experience shortages. This summer has been no different. So with inventories low, the addition of this catastrophic event and the effect on supply, a critical shortage throughout the US is already being felt.

It was just five years ago during the days and months following Super storm Sandy that assistance came to New Jersey from our fellow citizens throughout the United States… including Texas. To help secure the critical supply needed there as well as here in New Jersey you have several options available to help. First and foremost is donating blood yourself. One pint can save up to three lives. You can book your appointment via the Community Blood Council of New Jersey by calling 609-883-9750. Open six days a week with early morning and evening hours we look forward to accommodating your schedule. If you would like to sponsor and book a drive in support of the victims of Hurricane Harvey please call Lori Burris, (Account Manager- extension # 122) at your earliest convenience.