Whenever you see darkness, there is extraordinary opportunity for the light to burn brighter. -Bono

It’s dark in Texas right now. We are physically covered in a cloud of smoke, and more significantly, we are looking at a stretch of emotionally dark days. Days filled with too much worry and not enough rain.

And Texas isn’t alone. You need only to click over to CNN.com or turn on any news network to see coverage of flooding, tornadoes. And fires. Alongside these stories are other stories remembering the darkness that blanketed all of us ten years ago. We’re familiar with disaster, aren’t we? Each one bringing its own unique darkness, but something else, too.

Amid the ugly, the destruction, the loss, the snarky politically and religiously fueled comments on news stories, there is something else, something bigger than all of that: we are not content to dwell in the ugly. We are so much more than that.

Right now there are thousands of Texans with no homes, no belongings. And very likely, no energy to rise above the ugly just yet. That’s where the rest of us step in. We fill the gap for those who have lost so much.

Austin-area bloggers are working to fill the gap this week. Unfortunately, we still don’t know how far this will go. We have no idea the final reach of the fires. One week from now, one month from now, one year from now the gap will look differently than it does today. What we have today is a place to start.

If you want to get involved by donating your time, goods, or dollars, Austin-area bloggers are putting together lists of relief organizations that need your help. There’s something for every schedule and every budget. So take a look at the ideas here, and then visit some of the other blogs for more options (linked at the bottom of this post).

Texas is burning. Most of us can’t do a thing to stop the raging fires, and none of us have the power to make it rain. But we all have the power to help someone else.

As mentioned, this is a partial list. There are countless organizations providing relief, and I’m only listing a handful here. If you know of something that’s not listed, please add it in the comments (or if you’re a blogger, write a post and link up, below).

  • Many of the bloggers who are participating in this link-up will also be out to support the LiveMom.com Austin Family Brunch on Sunday, September 11. This brunch will now be a benefit & donation drive for our Central Texas neighbors who have lost their homes. I’ll be there, and invite you to come out & join us!
  • American Red Cross of Central Texas is accepting donations and volunteers. This site also links to additional wildfire resources.
  • Catholic Charities of Central Texas is taking donations on Tuesday, September 6. Visit the site for details.
  • Hill Country Bible Church is accepting donations all week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visit the website for more details. HCBC also needs volunteers to help with donation intake/distribution. If you are interested in volunteering at a shelter, this site has information about that, as well.
  • Call the Hays County Volunteer Coordinator if you’d like to make donations or volunteer your time: 512.393.7302
  • All of the local news outlets have links to ways to help. Some of those outlets: FOX, News Radio KLBJKEYEKVUEKXAN, Your News Now.
  • The readers of Free Fun in Austin are providing information on the Facebook page.
  • Chili’s Round Rock is donating a percentage of sales all day on September 6.

For general information about the fires, I suggest taking a look at some – or all – of the following:

  • A map of active fires, here. (This page is busy, not surprisingly. You may have to refresh a few times.)

Facebook pages that are providing regular updates:

If you’re on Twitter, look for these hash tags: #centraltxfire and #centraltxfires, #TXBlogFireRelief.

Now it’s your turn! Link your own post below, or leave a comment with relief information. And thank you. Thank you for joining Texas Blog Fire Relief, and shedding some light here in Texas.