Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, made landfall a month ago in Florida as well as the Caribbean. The facts about Hurricane Irma are staggering. This is the first time in history that two category 4+ hurricanes have made landfall in a single year.
The wind speeds reached up to 185 miles per hour, which is the fastest ever recorded in the open Atlantic. On top of that, over 6 million people were told to evacuate in the days leading up to the storm and over 7 million homes and business lost power during the storm.
It has been a full month since Hurricane Irma made landfall, but the damage to the area has been so extensive that recovery could take a substantial amount of time.
What can you do to help?
During this extremely difficult time, it is truly important for all of us to come together and endure this adversity because we are all without a doubt stronger when working together. Luckily there are many organizations that provide a plethora of different ways to help the millions of victims that are currently in need.
The Center for International Disaster Information provides some general guidelines for giving in order to make sure that all your donations are as impactful and effective as possible.
1. Donate Money
There are many national organizations that are raising money to help the people affected by Hurricane Irma. Every single donation helps, and many of the following organization provides multiple ways for people to get involved and help those that are in need at this time.
American Red Cross
This nonprofit organization based in Washington is currently raising money. Donations can be made via credit card or PayPal. You can also donate by mail by filling out this donation form and mailing it with your donation to:
American Red Cross
PO Box 37839
Boone, IA 50037-0839
To donate by phone or to get assistance with your donation Contact Red Cross at 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669).
You can also reach the Red Cross at:
TDD Operator: 1-800-220-4095
All Hands a nonprofit organization founded in 2005 and based out of Massachusetts is currently collecting donations to help the many families affected by Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria. They are also looking for volunteers that are able to help.
To donate or learn more about how you can help, please visit https://www.hands.org/.
This organization is looking to help hurricane victims on multiple fronts. They are currently accepting donations which you can make on their website.
You can also donate by mail at the following mailing address:
The Salvation Army
PO BOX 1959
Atlanta, GA 30301
Salvation Army asks that you specifically designate "Hurricane 2017" on all checks so that donations are allocated to the intended cause.
You can also donate through the phone by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY(1-800-725-2769).
United Way of Miami-Dade
One way to donate directly to a local charity in need is to donate to this organization. Miami-Dade County suffered extensive damage during the hurricane and can certainly benefit from donations. To learn more about Operations Helping Hands please visit: https://unitedwaymiami.org/.
2. Donate Blood
One of the most undervalued ways that people can help is by donating blood. Hospitals all over the nation as well as the entire world are always in need of blood donors to help the many patients in need. This need grows exponentially during times of crisis such as the recent flurry of hurricanes. Donating blood can make a big difference in the lives of others. You can find a way to donate blood through any of the following organizations:
American Red Cross:
America's Blood Centers:
3. Donate Shelter
Airbnb is using their platform to provide shelter to victims who have been displaced as well as temporary housing to relief workers who have been deployed to help. To find shelter or make your home available, please visit this website to view the regions in need, receive answers to frequently asked questions, and start the process of providing shelter to those in need.
4. Donate Time
Many of the organizations we have mentioned already are also looking for volunteers in addition to donations in the form of money and supplies. Arguably one of the most valuable ways that people can help is to be on the frontlines of relief efforts by donating their time. Below are a couple of organizations that are looking for volunteers in many different locations.
Habitat for Humanity, Key West and Lower Florida Keys:
5. Donate Supplies
Goodwill has partnered with Red Cross in order to provide relief to Hurricane Irma victims. They are currently accepting donations for clothing, shoes, books, media, toys, towels, linens, electronics, and household goods. Goodwill is also accepting monetary donations. To see how you can help go to www.goodwillsouthflorida.org.
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