This hurricane season has been particularly devastating for the United States and its territory, Puerto Rico. We have already seen three major hurricanes – Harvey, Irma and Maria – destroy large areas, while others have caused lesser damage, like Nate, or downgraded to tropical storms before making landfall. Irma alone has caused between 150 and 200 billion dollars of damage and displaced more than 10 thousand people, effectively rendering them homeless.1
In this time of crisis, it’s natural to want to flock to the victims’ aid; however, some types of aid are more effective than others. Even if you have good intentions, knee-jerk giving may not be as effective as you intend, depending on how it’s done or the charity you choose. Pause for a moment before sending cases of water from out-of-state or donating to a stranger’s crowdfunding campaign and do some research first.
Ways to Help Hurricane Irma Victims
Listen to the locals – As a good rule of thumb, whenever there is a natural disaster, donate whatever locals and officials are requesting. They are in the thick of the danger, and thus, most informed about what is truly needed.
Remember that donating in the aftermath of a disaster is vastly different than weekly volunteering or giving toys at holiday time. Even within the realm of natural disasters, the type of help most needed can vary wildly.
Consider money instead of items – In the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster, relief efforts focus on evacuating citizens and housing them in shelters. Donating items adds to the chaos of an already gridlocked area and causes more headaches than giving money directly to disaster relief charities or reputable local nonprofits. These organizations specialize in the situation at hand. By giving them your money directly, they can allocate funds appropriately for a disaster response, eliminating any guesswork on your end.
If you do decide to donate items, consider these oft-forgotten necessities:
Adopt a pet – It wasn’t just humans that were displaced by the floodwaters – their pets were as well. If you were already looking for a new furry friend, consider an animal who was separated from their family during the storm, or give to a local shelter if you are not in the position to adopt.
Don’t forget about the cause –With each new tragedy or additional distraction, people begin to forget about devastating events from a few months prior. As many people know from Hurricane Katrina’s destruction of New Orleans, the road to recovery is a long and arduous one, sometimes with no clear end in sight. By continuing to donate or volunteer long after the storm has passed, you will ensure a swifter recovery.
Watch out for phonies – Remember that there is always someone ready to piggyback on the latest tragedy for their own personal gain. Stay vigilant and do your research to avoid being duped by frauds. Entire “charities” can misallocate their funds, so be sure to look up what percent of money raised goes directly to victims before clicking the “donate” button.
Find Your Community at Wilder RV Resorts
We know that many of our residents have been affected by Hurricane Irma, especially at our location in Fort Myers. However, like the rest of Florida, we are rebuilding and look forward to making our communities stronger than ever before. Contact us online for more information about joining our RV resorts as a semi-permanent or permanent resident.