As we approach the end of Hurricane Florence, we are going to have to deal with the aftermath. That means damaged houses, lost jobs, community clean up, and displaced individuals, among other issues. People will want to help. Here are a few thoughts about that.
Don’t give used stuff. People don’t want your old clothes, and someone has to wash, bleach, iron, sort and transport that stuff. It’s not free by the time it’s all done. And it’s not uncommon for bugs to become an issue while it’s being stored. Give money instead. That way agencies can buy things that are needed based on demand.
Don’t donate canned goods. They also have to be sorted, packed, shipped, unpacked and distributed. I’m told a 69 cent can of beans can end up costing $3.00 by the time all that is done. Plus it takes manpower that might be better spent on other tasks, like debris removal. If you want to run a can drive, please give the bounty to a local food pantry where it can do the most good.
Do give money. First of all it allows agencies to buy what they really need. The American Red Cross might supply beds to displaced survivors but they need cots and blankets to do that, which wear out over time and need to be replaced. Second, many agencies give out gift cards or pay utility bills, which are obviously much easier to do with cash.
Do give blood. Not only is there likely to be an increased need, but blood drives in the affected areas have been cancelled so supplies may be down throughout the region. If you can’t afford a cash donation, giving blood is a good move.
Now maybe you’ve decided to give up this morning’s latte to help disaster victims, but what can you do with that $5.00? You’ve heard all the stories about charitable organizations where 90% of the money goes to internal expenses like executive salaries. If you decided to help, no doubt you want the most of your money to go to the disaster. A good site to check out agencies is National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster . Their landing page is all about helping Florence victims. Another good list of options is this one from Fast Company. Notice the emphasis on giving money or time.
All of which is to say, please give but be smart about it. Give what people need and choose responsible organizations. Be wise and be kind. Your heart will be happier.