During the recent pandemic, we saw unprecedented compassion and generosity. Our capacity to help others is endless in times of need, but another time of need is upon us: hurricane season.
We’ve been through so much already this year, and forecasts point to an active 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. We know from experience that we’ll need strength and resilience if a tropical storm reaches land. We also know we’ll band together and get through it. But what can we do after a hurricane to help our community?
Always remember that relief and recovery efforts last long after the storm passes. It can take months, or even years, for affected areas to recover. It also takes time and money to restore a community. Even with stay-at-home restrictions and social distancing in place, there are so many ways you can still help. Get started with these five ways to give.
1. Give Funds
Making a financial donation to a recognized disaster relief organization is the easiest, most efficient way to help those in need after a disaster.
Your money helps volunteer organizations fund recovery efforts, provide goods and services and get direct financial assistance to survivors. Best of all, financial donations are fast. They can be given quickly, are versatile and remain helpful after the initial response by funding long-term recovery work. Every dollar goes a long way.
If donating funds isn’t a viable option for you right now, consider organizing a fundraiser. It’s a great way to raise funds or collect donations that can be used by accredited organizations. Plus, it can get others involved who may have the same spirit of giving as you do.
If you can organize a fundraiser or want to cast an even wider net, you can also raise money using crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe or YouCaring.
2. Give Time
Volunteering is good for the soul. But before deciding where and how to volunteer, it’s good to know where your skills can be best used. With so many volunteer opportunities, from serving meals and registering fellow volunteers to search and rescue help, there’s something for everyone. Volunteering with The Red Cross, a non-profit organization or other faith-based group, your help is welcomed after a disaster.
With the recent pandemic and social distancing guidelines, be sure to call the volunteer organization you’d like to work with ahead of time and ask whether you can join them and how to do so safely.
3. Give Goods
So many things are lost or destroyed during a hurricane. And, if local stores can’t reopen right away, supplies can be hard to come by. In the aftermath of a hurricane, the most commonly needed items include:
Food and water
Cleaning supplies are equally important. Some homes can be fixed up with a good scrubbing, so supplies like bleach, masks, gloves and buckets can help. These items can be donated directly to shelters where volunteers can distribute as people return to their homes.
With the 2020 hurricane season following a pandemic, keep in mind that many stores are already running low on cleaning essentials. If you have extra supplies, consider donating what you can.
4. Give Blood
Donating blood is always helpful and greatly appreciated, but even more so after a natural disaster. And in light of the recent pandemic, increased blood donations are needed.
Blood donations are essential for helping communities recover after a hurricane. Governments and businesses can send medical supplies, but they can’t supply this much-needed but often-forgotten resource.
As blood supplies are moved where they're needed most, local blood banks and hospitals need fresh supplies to meet demands. Certain organizations make it easy for you to give blood at a time that's convenient for you.
5. Give a Helping Hand
When disaster strikes, people are anxious, worried and even angry. This means that any gesture that nurtures the body, mind and spirit is well worth the effort. Even at 6 feet apart, you can help someone clean up their yard or provide a meal. Just reaching out during this stressful time can make a real difference to our family, friends and neighbors.
Let’s Start Healing
Together, we’re healing from the aftermath of the pandemic — and we’ll be there for you all throughout hurricane season, too. We applaud your willingness to help your community after a hurricane. If you or someone you love needs health care in the wake of a storm, or even now, rest assured that you can get in-person care safely. Each of our facilities have taken extra precautions to keep you safe from COVID-19, and we look forward to serving you while you support your community.