posted on October 18th, 2017


In the last couple of months, North America has experienced a tragic spate of natural disasters. Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast in late August, and was the wettest storm ever recorded in the US. The Houston area was hit hard by the hurricane and the subsequent flooding inflicted unprecedented damage.

When disasters like this strike, communities have a habit of rising to the occasion and hanging tough through the tragedy and hardship. For those of us viewing these events from a distance, it can be hard to know how to help those in need. For Turo host Katelyn W., helping those in need meant setting aside a portion of the money she made through Turo for relief efforts.

Katelyn and her husband Brandon are donating 10 percent of their September profits from Turo to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. The fund, which is run through the Greater Houston Community Foundation, was set up by Houston mayor Sylvester Turner and is leading efforts to support flood victims in their recovery. As the floodwaters have receded, the cost of the damage figures to exceed $150 billion, not to mention the lives and livelihoods lost.

Katelyn and her husband were both born and raised in Louisiana. They experienced many powerful hurricanes through the years, but 2005’s Katrina was the storm that impacted their lives forever. Katelyn was a teen when Katrina devastated New Orleans. Though her immediate family’s property saw damage, many of her extended family and friends lost everything.

“Katrina just took everything away from so many people,” Katelyn said. “People moved their lives to cities north and west of New Orleans.” In the moment, it’s difficult to fully grasp the severity of disasters like Katrina. But as the passing years lend perspective, the scope and emotional impact of the catastrophe becomes clearer. “It’s always been a very moving disaster because it affected everyone I knew.”

As news of Harvey’s destruction traveled across the country, Katelyn couldn’t help but feel a very familiar sense of dread. Having relocated to Portland, she and her husband were far from the Gulf region. And as relief workers and good Samaritans flocked to Houston with trucks, boats, and supplies, Katelyn felt compelled to act.

“When you see natural disasters up close it stirs something in you,” she said. After witnessing the terrible effects of Katrina personally, the decision to donate was an easy one. She chose to use part of the profits from her two Turo listings because she decided she could involve this community to help spread the word. Katelyn listed her Toyota Prius and Hyundai Santa Fe this past summer, and immediately enjoyed the community. “Soon after we started, feeling like a part of the Turo community was simple,” she said. “It felt very natural.” She’s even started her own Turo Instagram account.

How you can help

Katelyn and Brandon chose to donate to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, but there are numerous organizations working on all aspects of the Harvey relief process. Find a group here that could use your help.

In late September, back-to-back hurricanes Irma and Maria swept through the Caribbean, devastating multiple island nations. Puerto Rico is still in the midst of its worst humanitarian crisis ever. Click here to find a group working on the Irma and Maria relief effort in Puerto Rico.

In Northern California, more than a dozen wildfires have displaced tens of thousands and claimed more than 40 lives.

To help the Northern California efforts, more than a dozen Turo hosts have offered up their cars free of charge to North Bay fire evacuees. The Napa fire relief program will continue through October 27, so victims are encouraged to email to be paired with a car generously donated by our wonderful Turo community.

Steven is an avid car guy and content maker at Turo. Between Golden State Warriors games he can be found getting lost somewhere in California.