It’s in the wake of natural disasters where we are shown the true strength and resolve of our fellow Americans. People of all races, genders, religions, and backgrounds come together to lend a helping hand without giving it a second thought. This was true with Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and this has been true in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Unfortunately, there is still so much more to be done and so much more that is needed. For the millions of people on Texas’ Gulf Coast, in South Florida, and in the Caribbean who are facing the daunting challenges of rebuilding, this is where the real work begins.
The people of these regions need as much help as they can get so here’s a guide on how to lend a helping hand.
Money is always needed in times of crisis, mainly because it has no dictated use. It can be directed to buy food and supplies, to set up shelters, and, maybe most importantly, to ensure the charities on the ground can cover costs and continue serving those in need.
A popular place to send money is the American Red Cross—who have already provided $45 million to more than 100,000 Texan families in need and are on the ground in Florida and the Caribbean—but the demand remains high. If you find yourself drawn to give to the Red Cross, they’re asking for a $10 donation so they can continue offering shelters for those affected.
JJ Watt, a player for the Houston Texans, set up a fundraising campaign of his own and has raised an incredible $34 million. If you want to donate to a local charity that is diversifying its recipients, he’s your guy.
Of course, those aren’t the only charities helping out. Here is a more thorough list.
The hysteria around storms like these almost always causes a run on stores, which leaves very few available supplies in the aftermath—not just food and water but things like diapers and pet food, for example. Money is a great thing to give, and is highly encouraged, but there is so much more the people in these affected areas are in need of.
Many organizations, schools, religious communities, and good Samaritans have been stocking up on basics and driving them down to the affected areas. Items like clothing, baby formula, first aid supplies, and even games and books for children are being sent by the truck load all the time so if that’s your preferred way of helping, head on over to a big box store in your area, gather as much as you can and send it to the areas affected. Every little bit goes a long way.
If you would rather give money to charities that deal in more specific relief, this list will help you direct your money.
Giving blood isn’t easy under normal circumstances, but it is one of the most sought-after donations in disaster areas. Harvey flooded the fourth largest city, and one of the most populated regions, in the country and Irma leveled entire islands and ravaged parts of South Florida (over half of Florida citizens were without power in the wake of Irma). We don’t often think of the constant need for blood, but it’s there, especially in areas devastated by natural disasters. So please, if you don’t mind needles, go to a blood donation site (American Red Cross is one) and donate. Every pint counts.
We’ve dedicated tens of thousands of words on this blog to helping you get some of your time back. It’s about time we helped give back to those who need more than just time. Let’s give them the supplies they need. Let’s give them hope.
Until next time – how can we help?