Looking for ways you and your family can help others in need this hurricane season? Start here and now to give them the assistance they need most.
When hurricane season strikes, inland areas usually don’t get hit with nearly as much damage as coastal homes and businesses. At most, families living inland may experience a foot of flooding and damaging wind gusts whereas cities on the coast can face with up to 30 feet of flooding and power surges. It’s the perfect opportunity for inland families and homeowners to help nearby coastal communities prepare for the most damaging time of year and be by their side during relief efforts. Here are some ways you can help out now and in the future.
There are a number of ways you can donate no matter where you are. After a major hurricane hits, most communities have drop boxes and locations to drop off supplies and clothing. Your local charities and organizations will mail or hand-deliver these goods on behalf of your community.
Hygiene items, nonperishable food and used clothes are just a few of the items needed after a hurricane sweeps away a family’s valuables. Here’s another list of popular, but often overlooked items after a natural disaster:
- New underwear and socks
- Feminine hygiene items
- Diapers and wipes
- Baby formula
- Rain gear
- Pet food
Another great way to help out is to donate to a disaster relief fund. Many are sponsored by the American Red Cross. These monetary donations can help in a number of ways including providing food and shelter, emergency supplies and medical care. Your donations also help families assess damage and create recovery plans. Disaster relief funds are the perfect way to help areas farther away.
If you’re able, giving blood is one way to help hospitals that may overrun or have a shortage of blood after a hurricane or other natural disaster. According to the American Red Cross, hospitals are able to store red cells in freezers for up to 42 days. Plasma can last in a freezer up to one year and platelets can be stored at room temperature for up to five days.
Before disaster strikes, reach out to your local hospital or schedule an appointment to give blood at a local donation facility. But before you schedule your appointment there are a few requirements to keep in mind:
- At least 110 pounds
- At least 17 years old
- Must not have donated blood within the last 56 days
- Be in good health
After a hurricane, the most impacted areas will need plenty of volunteers to help with relief efforts. If you live in the inlands, and not too far from a heavily-impacted area, consider taking a day trip to help those in need. Charities, churches and other local organizations often organize these community opportunities. You can also search for opportunities online and apply to be a volunteer in your area such as the American Red Cross, The National Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster and Habitat for Humanity.
Many organizations look for volunteers to fill a variety of roles including fundraising, assisting with managing emergency supplies and or helping families one-on-one to provide care and counseling if needed.
Open Your Home or Rental
If you have extra space or a rental home available, feel free to open it up to family friends or others that are evacuating or recovering from hurricane damage. Shelters are great options for families, but having extra privacy and a space that feels more like home may be more comforting during these times.
As soon as you hear about a hurricane hitting an area, reach out to close-by family and friends to let them know you have space. Many people also post on social media to spread the word that they have room available. Some homeowners also welcome pets, which is a big help since many shelters don’t.
More Organizations and Ways to Help
After each hurricane, the relief efforts will be different depending on the impact and area. Here are a few national organizations and charities that are always ready to help. And remember, hurricane relief continues long after the news coverage stops. Months later, families will still need help and supplies so keep giving and finding new ways to help.