Every year around this time, hurricanes storm in like a thief in the night, looking to rob whatever a family or business has: food, shelter, clothing, money, transportation, and even loved ones. These disasters strike so suddenly it can be difficult to seek out ways to help immediately. But if we knew what to do before disaster strikes, perhaps a victim’s help would arrive sooner in the aftermath. Here are some general, quick, and creative ways to help hurricane victims.
STATEWIDE RELIEF FOUNDATIONS
Look into some charitable organizations in North Carolina and see how they are helping the victims with their recovery and restoration. Foundations such as The Winston-Salem Foundation, Cumberland Community Foundation, North Carolina Community Foundation, and the Outer Banks Community Foundation are very productive ways to start, as they all offer help in different areas of North Carolina.
Short for “air-bed and breakfast,” Airbnb is a marketplace that allows people to rent out their properties or spare rooms to accommodate traveling guests, giving them unique places to stay. With Airbnb, you get to offer your home to hurricane victims who are fleeing from their hometowns to a safer place to stay until the storm subsides. You get to set your own price and even get to leave extra food, water, and clothing for the guests if needed. Offering your home is one of the best things you can do to help a hurricane victim. Also, you can earn money by using your home for Airbnb – that way, you can use the money you earn by putting it towards a disaster relief fund. But do your research first!
USE YOUR CRAFT!
What are you natural at? Baking? Making clothes? Singing? Find a way to monetize your talents and abilities and raise money to donate to hurricane relief funds. This can include local bake sales, benefit concerts or art galleries, or a church yard sale. Make clothing items, blankets, or tote bags and sell them, either locally or online. Organize a talent show at your church, school, or anywhere you would like to have it, and have all the proceeds go towards a relief fund. Find a way to do a charity fashion show and raise money for the victims. Whatever you do, make sure it is enjoyable, catchy, and profitable, and keep the victims in mind as you are planning.
AMERICAN RED CROSS
With every natural disaster that occurs, the American Red Cross promptly jumps into action by delivering food, shelter, clothing, and emotional support to victims. This organization offers adequate help such as overnight shelter stays, emergency supplies (hygienic products, rakes, tarps, and trash bags to clean up affected environments), food, friendly volunteers, and emergency response vehicles. You can help with Red Cross either by donating generously, giving blood or by becoming a volunteer.
GoFundMe is a free—and trusted—online fundraiser that facilitates raising money for any cause. Many people use this fundraiser to raise money for surgery, car repairs, shelters, and events. This is a creative and convenient way to raise relief funds for a specific place that has been stricken by disaster. For instance, you can create a “Hurricane Maria Relief Funds,” share the donate link, and watch your funds grow by accessing them straight from your smartphone!
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
Habitat for Humanity is a philanthropic organization that assists in building and improving communities. They have implemented the Disaster Risk Reduction and Response program to send quick relief and support to disaster victims. Fueled by passionate volunteers and donations, this program provides shelter, assistance, education, and training to those who have been affected by natural disasters. You can lend a helping hand by becoming a volunteer at a local division and by donating online.
Not only can you donate various items to the local Salvation Army store, you can see how you can help with their disaster relief services. These services include preparation for unexpected events, food services, emotional and spiritual care, management of donations and recovery.
It is a powerful feeling when you know how to help when disaster strikes. Instead of sitting there and wishing, “Gosh, I wish I knew how to help,” look at all the different ways that you can save lives.