Helping in the Midst of a Disaster: What Can We Do?

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With the first hurricane in nine years bearing down upon Texas, the National Weather Service has been asking residents close to the Gulf, and even further inland, to review their hurricane preparedness plans and pay attention to important weather alerts and forecast updates. In that respect, we should also consider standard disaster prep, and what we can do in the midst of a disaster. Some of us will fare quite well, and others, unfortunately, will need a helping hand when all is said and done. So, how can we best plan to assist? By volunteering our time and energy, by coordinating donations of food, clothing, and potable water, and by fundraising for even greater need, such as immediate shelter.

1. Volunteering in a Disaster

Helping in the Midst of a Disaster: What Can We Do?

Photo: Wikimedia

The National Weather Service has identified that Hurricane Harvey will meet with the lower to middle Texas coastline today (August 25.) In that instance, how can we be ready to volunteer best? Contact local aid organizations and non-profits in your area in advance. Provide them with your current contact details and your availability. Ask what is required of your time and what services you may additionally be able to provide. It never hurts to offer something that these organizations may not have yet thought of. Be sure not to over-extend yourself, however. Yes, there will be those in need, and lots of them. But as a volunteer, if you’re exhausted, haven’t eaten properly, nor slept, you won’t be of much true and positive help to those you’re servicing. Please keep that in mind.

2. Coordinating Donations

Helping in the Midst of a Disaster: What Can We Do?

Photo: Facebook/Patient First

Houston, Galveston, and much of Southeast Texas residents will undergo heavy and widespread rainfall which has the potential to cause a lot of damage, or at the very least, wreak some unnecessary havoc. With the copious amounts expected of rainfall in some areas, flooding and other water and erosion issues could result. Coordinate amongst neighbors, family, and friends for a central location for safety, but also donations of food, clothing, and potable water, considering the immediate need will be nourishment and safe drinking water following the storm. Dry clothing, or any clothing for that matter, may also be in need, and where your own group or community can’t immediately use it, you can easily make these items available through the Red Cross, FEMA, and area food banks and shelters.

3. Fundraising Effectively

Helping in the Midst of a Disaster: What Can We Do?

Photo: Wikipedia

Often, following a disaster strike, many are left in need of things that can’t be supplied through volunteering time, food, or clothing. Sometimes people require special medical services that they can’t afford, immediate housing where they’ve lost everything, or circumstances beyond their control have developed an issue where monetary support is required. If you’ve found yourself better off than most, or having the ability to give to others, coordinating a fundraising initiative or drive might be a good way to give back. Pairing your interests with an event or function that could draw a crowd and potentially lead to considerable fundraising is a great way to help. Or auctioning off an item of value, raffling something, running a 50/50 ticket sale is always possible. Remembering that official licensing or event registration is often required for such things, and also helps a potential giver feel better about contributing to something legitimate, is always best. If you’re unsure about your ability to coordinate something on your own, you can also give your time to area fundraising initiatives that will require a donation as well as manpower to see that money grow. Remember that a helping hand is easy to offer. Stay safe, and take care.