There are many ways to assist after a disaster inside and outside your community. Any contribution after a natural disaster, no matter how big or small, helps the recovery process.
Donating your time, money, expertise, or connections can go a long way. The effects of a natural disaster can be devastating and long-lasting. However, the more hands helping out, the faster the recovery process. This article will give some ideas about how to help after a natural disaster.
This simple yet effective way to help out requires little effort and time. You can donate money to a reputable organization. Do research beforehand to ensure your money is going to the intended cause. Additionally, you can donate directly to victims you know personally or through an online fundraising campaign.
Don’t Always Ask, Just Do
Asking an affected person or family how you can help throughout the recovery process can be overwhelming if they don’t know how or when to ask for help. Sometimes victims can be too tired or devastated to figure out what they actually need.
Instead, say what you will do and ask specific questions. For example, “I’m bringing you dinner. What time should I drop it off?” Or “I’m going to the grocery store to get snacks, water, and whatever else you need. Tell me when and where I should bring them.” Taking the initiative and just doing it can make a huge difference.
Start by contacting local shelters that may be sheltering evacuees. Ask what they need and how you can help. Some organizations may need assistance with organizing donations or answering phones. You can also reach out to the American Red Cross about becoming a disaster relief volunteer.
Talk about the importance of helping others and ask friends and family if they’re willing to aid your volunteer efforts. An efficient way to share your cause is by posting about it on social media with a link to a fundraising page. GoFundMe is an effective and popular crowdfunding website that can help you raise money quickly.
Whether you live near or far from the disaster, consider donating blood if you can. Blood is often in high demand for the affected area after a disaster. American Red Cross, for example, is an organization you could contact about donating blood.
Bring new or nearly new items to a donation center. Keep in mind most donation centers do not accept used clothing. However, donating a new or lightly-used shirt or pair of pants can provide a significant emotional boost for someone who has lost everything. They will need new clothes to wear heavily for weeks throughout the recovery process.
Rebuilding after a natural disaster can take months or even years. Consider participating in a rebuilding or disaster relief program during the months following a disaster.
Offer Your Home or WiFi
If you live in the impacted disaster zone, but your home survived, and your power is still on, consider offering space to those in need when you can. Let neighbors and friends use your WiFi to complete essential tasks and communications.
Donate Your Leave Time
Some larger companies and governmental agencies allow their employees to donate unused sick or vacation time to those in a disaster-impacted area. Get in touch with your human resources department or representative to ask if you can transfer your time to those unable to work.
Volunteer Your Professional Skills
Consider donating your skills if you work in a profession that could be useful to a community recovering from a disaster—for example, engineering, health, logistics, etc.
Community recovery can happen quickly or take years. Regardless of the pace, it can be challenging and confusing for the affected community. Be an advocate for inclusive recovery that reflects the community’s values.
One of the most important things to remember during the post-disaster recovery process is to be supportive and proactive. Sometimes you may be able to help in the smallest way, like by listening to someone talk about what they are going through. Additionally, being proactive can play a significant role in motivating other community members. Check out our Disaster Book in the Grab + Go Box for more information on disaster recovery.