Hi friends, sorry I have been absent for so long. Hurricane Irma rocked our world upside down. It was one of the most powerful hurricanes ever, and it affected an estimated 37 million people. It has been absolutely heartbreaking to see the devastation that has occurred throughout Florida, the Caribbean, Georgia and South Carolina. They will need help for months and maybe even years to recover. I have compiled a list of organizations you can contact if you’re looking for ways to help. If you know of any additional charities or organization in need, please share them in the comments below and I will update this list.
In my research, I found that monetary donations are the most helpful according to the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI). “Many Americans respond to disasters by collecting food, clothing and household items for people in need, ” the CIDI’s website states. “These donations require transportation — which is expensive and logistically complicated. Cash donations allow relief supplies to be purchased near the disaster site, avoiding delays and steep transportation and logistical costs that can encumber material donations.”.
- GlobalGiving’s Irma Relief Fund is accepting donations here. It vets the local organizations it helps fund and is well-regarded by charity watchdogs. The crowdfunding website is aiming to raise $2 million for relief and recovery efforts in regions affected by the hurricane.
- Catholoic Relief Services is providing shelter, water and critical supplies, including tarps, tents, and hygiene and kitchen kits.
- UNICEF is providing emergency relief and will help children affected by the hurricane resume their education in the coming months.
- Oxfam has people on the ground to provide relief in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
- Americares is providing emergency health care in Florida and the US Virgin Islands.
- The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster is registering volunteers to help in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other areas affected by Hurricane Irma.
- Habitat for Humanity is preparing for emergency responses in the US and the Caribbean, as well as long term rebuilding.
- Convoy of Hope is helping victims in the British Virgin Islands and Haiti.
- Caneel Bay Employee Irma Relief Fund is dedicated to supporting their employees and families on the islands of St. John & St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. Every dollar will go towards rebuilding efforts.
- Humane Society is working to save and transport displaced pets and animals.
- Salvation Army is deploying volunteers for on the ground efforts in Florida, and providing meals, shelter and emotional and spiritual care.
- The nonprofit Convoy of Hope is helping victims in the British Virgin Islands and Haiti.
- St. John Rescue is providing emergency and support services to the island of St John.
- Go Fund Me Hurrican Irma Relief for St. Thomas and St. John is raising donations to purchase water, food, tarps and other essential supplies. 100% of the funds donated will go directly to relief efforts.
- United Nations Development Project is directing efforts for immediate relief and long term rebuilding.
- SPCA International provides support to shelters and rescue groups working with animals affected by natural disasters.
- Save The Children will provide relief efforts for families and children impacted by the storm.
- Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is providing on the ground help through volunteers, supplies, and mission programs.
- UMCOR United Methodist Committee on Relief is working with disaster response coordinators, and volunteers to provide support and relief.
- Check with your local Churches as they have many programs in place to provide direct assistance to people in need. I was particularly proud of how my hometown of Marianna, Florida responded to the need by providing shelter, meals, and relief for hundreds of evacuees and first responders.
- I’m trying to find ways to thank and support the first responders, linemen and relief crews working tirelessly to rescue people, turn on power, and provide support on the ground. Please let me know if you have any I can add.
What To Watch Out For
To make sure you are giving to a legitimate and effective charity, check whether it has been rated or accredited by an organization like Charity Navigator, Charity Watch or the Better Business Bureau. These might not cover smaller, community-based charitable organizations. But you can read useful tips about choosing a charity from the Federal Trade Commission.
Thank You & Lessons Learned From Irma
Words can’t begin to express our appreciation to everyone who has reached out to check on us, and kept us in your thoughts and prayers. Michael and I were relieved to return home after a week of being displaced by this monster storm, and I feel like I have an emotional hangover from this insanely stressful experience. We were issued a mandatory evacuation order because we live in a flood zone in St. Pete, but the storm surge was not as bad here as expected. Our neighborhood is notorious for flooding, and we were terrified and prepared for the worst. However, we were incredibly fortunate to only have a mess of a yard to clean up and no power for a few days. All of Florida was in a terrible panic, and it has been a scary and surreal experience. Even throughout this scary ordeal, Hurricane Irma taught me many lessons. Stuff is stuff, and when you’re forced to pack up what you can and flee for safety, it teaches you what matter most. It’s loved ones, experiences, memories and faith. Life is fragile and you never know what can happen, so savor each moment and live it to the fullest. Please continue to keep everyone affected by Hurricane Irma in your thoughts and prayers. Also lift up the first responders, linemen and volunteers working tirelessly and sacrificing time with their families to help those in need.
How to Help Victims of Hurricane Irma