When a disaster strikes, it is people coming together to help that brings hope to survivors. Hurricanes Fiona and Ian left trails of catastrophic destruction, uprooting the lives of millions. The recovery will be long, grueling and costly. It will take the efforts of countless people to help affected communities recover – from all levels of government to non-profit organizations to generous individuals like you.
While it may be tempting to immediately travel to affected areas to offer help, this can unintentionally create problems or extra work for responders. To make the most of your efforts and create a lasting impact, follow these guidelines instead.
Financial contributions to recognized disaster relief organizations are the fastest, most flexible and most effective method of donating.
Cash donations allow these organizations to quickly address urgent or emerging needs. When you donate cash, it also moves through the economy of the affected areas. Supplies are purchased from local sources and local people are paid to help rebuild. This type of cash flow helps the economy recover more quickly.
While you may wish to donate in other ways, keep in mind that unsolicited goods may fail to meet the needs of disaster survivors. Sending other donations to affected areas can also complicate the jobs of staff, who now have to sort through these unsolicited goods instead of helping the community. Check to see what might be needed and where before you send supplies.
Volunteer Your Time
Another great way to help is to choose an organization to volunteer with. Trusted organizations operating in the affected areas know where volunteers are needed and can help find the best place for you to lend your efforts based on safety, as well as your training and skills. When volunteers are working under the direction of these types of organization, they can be extremely helpful in helping survivors return to their new normal.
For opportunities in hurricane Fiona and Ian affected areas, visit these state-specific sites:
- In Florida visit Florida Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
- In Puerto Rico, visit Puerto Rico Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
- In South Carolina, visit South Carolina Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
Think Long Term
Recovery lasts a lot longer than media attention. There will be volunteer and donation needs for many months, even years, to come. Explore the list of Voluntary Organizations Active in a Disaster to see how you may be able to help in the future.