In quick succession, three hurricanes crashed through the Caribbean and southern United States, leaving overwhelming destruction behind. Often, in the wake of a natural disaster, it can be hard to know how to be most helpful. With this level of devastation, following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, it can be overwhelming to even know where to start.
Although SLP’s work focuses on helping youth have a long-term systemic impact on social problems, sometimes what is needed is direct and immediate service. Here are ways you can have an impact:
1. If you can, donate money.
Consider donating to a grassroots or local organization that can disseminate resources on the ground quickly and effectively such as United for Puerto Rico, the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, or the Miami Foundation’s Irma Community Relief Fund.
2. Donate goods.
Organize a toiletry or canned food drive at your school, work, or place of worship. The Puerto Rican government has released a list of most needed items, and Mayor de Blasio has announced 18 locations across the boroughs where New Yorkers can donate goods. The Houston Emergency Operations Center put out a call for donations and included drop off locations. You can also donate food and goods through the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.
3. Keep checking back.
The Caribbean and the Gulf Coast will be rebuilding for years, but news coverage, as well as most people’s attention, will move on. Remember to check back on the affected areas when the rebuilding effort is not getting as much press and the donations have stopped streaming in. You could set an alarm or reminder on your smartphone or computer to re-engage with the rebuilding effort in a month, six months, or even a year.
4. Remember the parable of the starfish.
Every drop in the bucket helps. While the sheer scale of destruction can lead some to feel their actions will have no impact, don’t underestimate the power of collective action.
Do you have more ideas or resources to support hurricane relief? Let us know in the comments below.