As much as we wish it wasn’t so, every part of the world is susceptible to some sort of disaster. These natural disasters can hit various communities across the globe. Typical catastrophic events, such as floods, hurricanes, blizzards, fires, and earthquakes are quite devastating and challenging for those directly affected. Not only is there the terror of facing these disasters, but there’s high-stress levels about homes disappearing, familial safety, and so much more. Along with those stress levels come major levels of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion—which is where help is vital.
When natural disasters strike, most people often look for ways to help with any relief efforts. Whether it’s a disaster in your country or across the globe, there are plenty of ways to provide support. When it comes to hurricanes specifically, there are a few extra things we must do. And, to help you figure it out, we created a guide on how to help a community after a hurricane—check it out below!
Get Involved with a Local Nonprofit
The best part of this tip is that you don’t have to wait until disaster strikes to lend a helping hand. There are tons of nonprofits that help with disaster recovery so all you have to do is find one you truly support and go from there. Getting involved doesn’t have to mean volunteering, either. It can simply mean organizing events such as fundraisers and food drives, joining the board, and even sharing information on social media.
Staying involved year-round with these organizations means you’ll be ready immediately if disaster strikes. Some organizations may even send you to various locations if they need assistance. Nonprofits are quite literally always looking for help and accepting aid, so the sooner you join, the sooner you’ll be able to help a community weather the storm.
Whereas nonprofits are much more of a hands-on approach for lending aid, this tends to be the hands-off version. However, just because it’s hands-off doesn’t mean it’s not vital. It’s one of the fastest ways to assist disaster victims, and you’ll end up supporting local nonprofits who respond to the disaster. For example, when you send money to the American Red Cross, you’ll support all their relief efforts. From providing food and water to giving medical aid and shelter to communities hit by hurricanes, these organizations consistently help out those in need.
Better yet, you can donate to various organizations that help with disaster relief. The more you spread out your money, the more people your money will provide aid for. These cash donations help more than you know; since individuals can give quickly, organizations can spread the relief faster. The next time disaster strikes, a simple and quick way to help is to simply send money to those organizations providing relief.
Another great way to help communities after disasters like hurricanes is to donate goods. You can do this year-round when you donate clothes and other items to organizations such as GreenDrop. We turn your money into monetary donations for charities such as the American Red Cross. This is a great way to lend support if you don’t have the money to send, as all you need is to perform a bit of decluttering around the house. Your clothing or home good donations will end up giving money to organizations that will help.
If you’d like to send goods directly to those in need, you need to make sure the organization is currently accepting donations. Unsolicited donations to organizations helping with hurricane relief can add more stress to their plate, as they’ll need to sort through, clean, and distribute the items. If they’re not asking for it, don’t send it to them. Also, make sure you send critical and useful supplies—for example, don’t send a pile of winter coats to a high-temperature area.
Similar to sending unsolicited goods, don’t travel to disaster-stricken areas if you’re not a part of a nonprofit or decide to go on a whim. Although the impulse to help those in need is commendable, it most often causes more harm than good. If you want to volunteer, make sure to start doing so before disaster strikes. It’s important to assess your skillset before you go anywhere.
Take, for example, someone who has no training or certifications in disaster relief. They’re someone who should not head out to the disaster area. Instead, they can focus on long-term recovery efforts and focus on other skills that could provide aid. Therefore, once you assess your skills and how they correlate with relief, you can search for volunteer opportunities. Every little bit helps, so don’t think that just because you’re not heading out for immediate relief means you’re not providing essential, meaningful help. Everyone that takes the time to volunteer is a vital piece to helping communities after disasters.
Donating blood year-round is important for tons of reasons. When it comes to disaster relief, giving blood is an incredibly meaningful way to help out in the wake of hurricanes and the like. Now, it’s important to note that only giving blood when disaster hits won’t be nearly as beneficial as year-round donations. That said, if you’re only able to give during disaster times, every donation counts. In disaster conditions, road travel is often hazardous, which prevents regular donors from giving. The more you give, the more there will be to meet the increased demand for blood from hospitals and other medical centers.
Our final tip on how to help a community after a hurricane delves into the idea of continuous support. One of the saddest and hardest parts about natural disasters is that after the initial relief and recovery efforts, people forget about it. Those who the disaster did not physically affect start focusing on other projects and those in need no longer receive the help they need. Remember—relief and recovery efforts last long after storms pass, and media coverage stops. Keep donating money, determine what ways you can help, and don’t let those in need go without your aid.
If you want to help out communities after hurricanes, one of the charities you should turn to is GreenDrop. We turn your donated home goods and clothing items into monetary donations for disaster relief charities such as the American Red Cross. You can help—donate now!