With back to back hurricanes blowing up the south and another two heading towards the Caribbean and Veracruz, many are wondering how to help. The staggering cost to repair & rebuild is predicted to be as high as two hundred billion dollars.
Only wealthy governments and donations from tens of millions of people can come up with those kind of dollars. Donations to the Red Cross are the most popular way to assist but by no means the only way. The Texas Tribune put together a great list of organizations where you can volunteer time or donate money. The Red Cross is a great organization but it’s also very large -- which means bureaucracy, which means it’s not as speedy as it could be. And that’s why I like the Texas Tribune list. Your donations will go directly to the places that need it.
The Tribune list compiles dozens of local volunteer options covering need for lawyers, musicians, chefs and medical personnel; to places you can donate blood, or hospitals you can assist at or donate to, or local animal shelters that need help with displaced pets -- their list goes on and on. Even if you live far outside the disaster zones there are plenty of options to assist.
PBS news (online) has a similar list to assist hurricane Irma victims. And while there are plenty of food banks collecting non perishables and cleaning supplies, recovery experts all agree that donating cash, not goods, is best. Goods can clog up supply lines and likely go to waste, case in point -- after hurricane Katrina, National Guard destroyed tens of thousands of bottles of water because folks just sent too much of it.
Donating money directly to local food banks operating within the disaster zone is far more beneficial than donating perishable goods to an organization near you and having them ship it. The Texas Tribune link above offers several options for local food banks that accept online donations, the largest being Central Texas Food Bank, while in Florida they have the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.