As the biggest search and rescue effort in Texas history begins, national and community aid organizations are calling on all Americans to donate money and muscle to victims of Hurricane Ike.

The American Red Cross has more than 20,000 people in evacuation shelters across four states, providing beds, blankets, toiletries and emotional support to evacuees. It is stockpiling provisions for distribution posts and has 25 to 30 mobile kitchens on hand able to serve up to 500,000 meals per day.

It’s also bringing extra units of blood to North Texas.

The Red Cross encourages evacuees to register with its Safe and Well Web site which helps family and friends reconnect in emergencies. Visit disastersafe.redcross.org.

Click here to donate to the American Red Cross or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (English) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish).

The Salvation Army deployed five mobile disaster response units to Galveston, Lufkin and Beaumont, Texas, in association with the National Guard. Three 48-foot mobile kitchen units and a convoy of more than 60 canteens are part of the association’s long-term response “strike teams,” the Salvation Army’s biggest operation since Gustav. Throughout Texas, the association is helping the evacuation and shelter effort and is calling for volunteers and for monetary donations to provide $100 in food, water and household clean-up kits to flood victims.

Click here to join or donate to the Salvation Army or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

Operation USA, a Los Angeles-based relief agency, is supplying the Texas Association of Community Health Centers with medical supplies like antibiotics and heart medications to provide for more than a million people displaced by Ike. Operation USA is also sending water purification and medical supplies to Haiti and Cuba.

Corporate contributors are asked to call 1-310-838-3455 to donate bulk products with more than one year of shelf life.

Click here to give a cash donation to Operation USA or call 1-800-678-7255.

Hands on Network Inc. is coordinating volunteer recruitment for Hurricane Ike shelters and phone banks, administrative offices and warehouses of the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, the North Texas Food Bank and the Volunteer Center of North Texas and Louisiana. Sign-language interpreters are needed at evac centers, and non-medical volunteers required as medical team clerical support and runners at the main shelter in Dallas. Medical teams, paramedics and EMS are asked to donate their time.

Community organizations providing volunteers should call 1-866-797-8268.

Click here to volunteer in North Texas.

The Louisiana state volunteer center asks volunteers not to self-deploy but to get involved through a community or relief organization. Their Web site provides interactive calendar listings to match volunteers with services like helping families apply for Emergency Food Stamps and gather information for the Red Cross’ damage assessment.

Click here to volunteer in Louisiana.

Animal lovers are also deploying following Ike to provide havens for lost and abandoned pets the affected regions. Best Friends Animal Societyoperating out of Utah has sent rescue teams to collect dogs and cats hit by evacuating vehicles or suffering exposure to unhealthy food and water. Best Friends is asking for monetary donations and adoptive families.

Click here to contribute to Best Friends Animal Society.

The Animal Rescue Site, a partner of GreaterGood.org, is coming to the aid of furry Ike victims through online sales of tax-deductible “Gift That Gives More” flip-flops, jewelry, “Purple Paw” socks and “Paw Print” fleece jackets. All money raised through merchandise sales is earmarked for animal rescue and assistance after Ike.

Click here to "shop and save" at the Animal Rescue Site.