Hurricane Michael – here’s the best way you can help

Hurricane Michael

Although Bel Aire Terrace was lucky enough to avoid traumatic damage, the devastation a little over an hour east of us is overwhelming. Just shy of a Category 5 hurricane, this natural disaster is unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the Florida Panhandle. Hundreds of people are without jobs and homes today. How does one start the path of a normality after such a catastrophe? Our hearts ache as we struggle to find ways to aid our neighboring city. Where do we begin?

Here are some of the best and most effective ways to help:

1.) Donate.

DON’T donate unsolicited household items. In the midst of the chaos and clean up, donating unrequested items to a charity immediately after a hurricane can be more of a burden than a blessing. Donating items that an organization hasn’t asked for can take a cumbersome amount of time to sort out, and the issue of finding a place to store those items amidst wreckage can sometimes be impossible. Instead, donating financially is usually much better option. Monetary gifts allow organizations and victims the freedom to get exactly what they need for their situation. Only donate household items if an organization specifically requests it, and be proactive to follow the guidelines for what they need. Also, don’t forget to purchase items from near by businesses if possible, as this will help boost the local economy after a disaster.

DO donate monetary gifts to a trusted organization. This is a fantastic way to assist during disaster relief. For a list of trusted organizations, visit National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD). Giving financially enables established organizations to purchase the necessary equipment and supplies they need to help. It also enables them to purchase items specific to the victim’s situation, such as special medical supplies for an individual.

2.) Volunteer.

DON’T self-deploy. This can be complicated, and even dangerous. Although you may be eager to rush over to the rescue, you may be putting yourself into harms way by traveling to an area with dangerous territory or extreme conditions. Not having the proper safety equipment for the situation can also be hazardous. Partner up with a specific organization that can guide you.

DO partner up with a disaster response organization. Helping hands will be needed for weeks, months, maybe even years. There will be a long road to recovery ahead. Being present in time of need is always necessary and appreciated. Sign up to volunteer at VolunteerFlorida.org or join a nationally recognized disaster relief agency. Visit National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster for a list organizations that need your help today.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” -Helen Keller