As the destruction wrought by Harvey, Irma (and hopefully that’s it) piles up, I’m sure a lot of people are wondering how to help. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the scale, particularly seeing footage of hard-hit areas in the Caribbean. But if you think about your small donation as just making life easier for one vulnerable person impacted by the storms, giving is a no-brainer.
Some links and ideas on helping:
- The Red Cross is the non-profit everyone is pushing right now, and they do good work, but consider other organizations that may be providing more specialized services as well. Charity Navigator rates charities based on what percentage of donations go towards their mission, and they have lists of charities providing relief for survivors of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.
- Charities are often overwhelmed by the flood of donations of physical items in the wake of disasters. In addition to the time it takes to sort items like used clothing, not everything donated ends up being usable or needed. If you’d like the satisfaction of giving something material to hurricane victims, consider ordering off of their Amazon wishlists. They can coordinate more organized delivery of the items with Amazon, and you’ll know what you’re sending is truly needed. Help Florida has a roundup up Amazon wishlists from charitable organizations assisting hurricane victims (scroll down the page to see them). The lists are varied, and include things that are often overlooked, like pet supplies and even underwear!
- If you’d like to volunteer your time and skills, obviously check with local organizations before you head anywhere to help out. The Red Cross is coordinating volunteers in many areas. You can also go to Volunteer Florida to register for opportunities in Florida, and Samaritan’s Purse is looking for volunteers in Texas. In addition, you can register on the NVOAD website to assist in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
- If you live near the affected areas and have a habitable home to offer to evacuees or relief workers, Airbnb has set up pages for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma to connect homeowners with those in need.