How To Actually Help When Natural Disasters Strike
As I am sure all of you are aware, there are numerous disasters going on around us. Our hearts go out to the people of Texas, Mexico, and Florida for all that has happened and is continuing to happen lately. But as sad as it is, these natural disasters will continue to happen overtime and across the world. I always get filled with a sense of service when these disasters strike. I look around at everything that I have, count my blessings, and then want to help those who have just lost everything.
But often we don’t know how to help. These disasters could be across the country, the world, or maybe just a few hours away. I decided today that I wanted to focus on how to help when these disasters strike. I always have the desire, but I never really know HOW to do what needs done, so I spent the time to research to find out the biggest ways to help when a disaster happens in the world around us.
How to Help When There is a Natural Disaster
I have to admit, I was wrong about this. I thought as I wrote this post, I would talk about the top 10 items to donate and share with you how you can take items out of your own home and mail them to people suffering, but as I did research, I am seeing that maybe there is another option.
Here me out. We immediately think that because these people have lost EVERYTHING, we need to send them everything and that is not ideal. What happens is that when these disasters hit, people send clothes, blankets, teddy bears, etc. but once that stuff arrives, there is nowhere to put it. Most of the time, all buildings are destroyed and they will have no where to store all of these things. Bags and bags of donated things will arrive and will just get ruined because it is outside in the rain.
Also, many people send foods that once they arrive, are useless. People receive cans and cans of food without can openers or without stoves. Or they receive plastic water bottles that eventually run out. Food will go bad and will end up just getting thrown away.
What is so hard is that those are the exact things that we think people need, but maybe there is something else we can do to help. I recently read a story about after a disaster hit in Indonesia, the world responded and sent clothes, shoes, food, and supplies almost instantly. Well, there was too much and nowhere to store it, so it all ended up on the beach. The pile was HUGE and all those supplies ended up just getting burned right there on the beach.
Photo Credits: CBS News
What Can I Do That Will REALLY Help?
So that left me asking, what can I do that will really help? I don’t want to send something that will actually be harmful, so I took the time to find 5 ways to help that will actually help!
#1 : Money
I know this is a hard one, no one likes to send money because we do not know how it will be used! Trust me, I get it! But look at all the perks of sending money.
- Charities will be able to use the money in ways that are needed
- It will allow the charity to buy fresh foods that are needed
- It will allow charities to support the local businesses (that are still open)
- Nothing will go wasted
- Nothing needs to be stored
- It does not require an entire team to unload and separate everything
- And so much more…
So this is my advice. Be sure to research the charity you are donating to! Try and make it a local charity or a well known charity that is transparent with their spending. Money is the perfect thing to send when you trust who you are sending it to! So I highly recommend sending money to those whom you trust.
#2 : Multiple Use Items
If you are going to send items, make sure it is WORTH sending. For example, you could send a case of bottled water OR you could send a waterbottle with a filtering straw. That way they can refill the water bottle over and over (even in the dirty street water) and will always have drinking water. One water bottle will take up less space than a whole case and will be able to be easily delivered. Find items that can be used in multiple different ways, that are NECESSITIES and that can be used many times.
I have used this before and I swear by it! This would be an awesome thing to donate! You can literally put water from anywhere inside of it and by the time it reaches your lips, it is clean!
We have many readers living in Texas and Florida right now! A perfect way to help is to open your home. Have you considered Airbnb before? Well, you can offer FREE accommodations to those affected by this disaster! Out of all the things one could donate, I think this is the most special. These people have lost everything! They do not have a home. No matter if yours is humble or huge, open it up and let someone stay just until they can get on their feet again.
#4 : Donate Blood
This is another awesome way to help! We often think of all the possessions that are damaged during these disasters, but have you thought about how people get hurt when these things happen? Donating blood is such an easy way to help and it will benefit so many people’s lives. The Red Cross will take care of everything for you, all you have to do is show up.
#5 : Don’t Forget Them
As I stated above, right now these places are not in any state to be receiving tons and tons of items. Most of them have lost their homes! They don’t need everything that we likely would send, but that doesn’t mean that they never will. In a few months or maybe in a few years, remember them. That is the time to send items. That is the time to donate food, clothes, kitchen utensils, or supplies. But when donating think, “Would I like to receive this gift?” Don’t just send everything that you don’t want. Send your best. There are stories of people sending stained shirts, one shoe, heavy coats to warm places… etc. Don’t just send something just to donate. Send what is needed.
My Final Suggestion
My final suggestion is this… DO YOUR RESEARCH! That only involves a few google searches and review reading to find a charity that is honest and trustworthy. Once you find one, donate what you can. Then pray. I am a huge believer in prayer! Pray for those involved and pray for ways that you can help as well. Afterwards, wait a few months and see what else you can do. It is not enough just to donate whatever. We need to send the best. We need to do our best to help them and by sending an OVERWHELMING amount of goods, you won’t be helping. Donate what will really help.
Comment below and let me know how you are planning to help those hit by natural disasters? I would love more ideas!