How to Help when a Natural Disaster Strikes in Another State

When a natural disaster hits we often ask, what can I do to help?  Living in Orlando Florida we have had our fair share of awful hurricanes.  Most of us know where to drive to drop off supplies, donate blood, or even donate our time.  But what can we do to help when the storm is far away? As we all know Hurricane Harvey has wreaked havoc on Texas.  While we are all keeping Texas in our hearts there are ways we can help from FL.  Here are some tips on how Floridians can help after Harvey.

Quick Tip: Its always helpful to check with an organization about what their needs are before just dropping things off.

Here are several organizations and coordinated efforts coming to the aid of Texans:

The American Red Cross is encouraging people to donate money on its website or to text 90999 to donate $10. The organization is also asking for volunteers.

Other organizations include Samaritan’s Purse and Heart to Heart International.

Donations to the Salvation Army can be made online, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) or texting STORM to 51555.

Catholic Charities provides food, clothing, shelter and support services to those from all religious backgrounds.

The crowdfunding website Global Giving is trying to raise $2 million to provide “food, water, and medicine in addition to longer-term recovery assistance” to Harvey’s victims. By Monday afternoon, it had raised more than $270,000.

Airbnb has waived fees for who need a place to stay with people who are offering space free.

Donate to the Kiwanis Children’s Fund to fund disaster relief grants by texting “Aid” to 50155 or click here to donate.

Buy supplies from Kiwanis Warehouse to have shipped directly to Texas for distribution by Kiwanis members.

Several organizations are offering aid to displaced pets, including Dallas Animal Services and the SPCA of Texas.

AABB, which coordinates a task force to manage blood collection efforts during disasters, put out a call on Sunday for blood donations in the aftermath of Harvey. Most in demand: those with type O-positive blood.

Those interested in donating blood may contact the following organizations:

Quick Tip: Blood from Florida can be shipped to Texas as needed so please feel free to support in this way if you choose.

• AABB: 301-907-6977• America’s Blood Centers • American Red Cross: 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)• Armed Services Blood Program: 703-681-5979

Ways Kids Can Help After Harvey:

During times of tragedy kids also want to step up and help.  According to Kids Health here are some ways kids can help

  • Organize a school fundraiser. Talk with your teacher or school administrators about starting school-based activities to raise money or supplies. If you’re organizing a donation drive, check with the groups listed above to be sure they need the items you plan to send. Sometimes they get too many donations and have to spend money storing or handling the excess items.
  • Organize a community event. Talk to your place of worship or a local community center (like the YMCA) about organizing a walk, run, bake sale, or other activity to raise money.
  • Donate clothes, food, or other items. Check with your local community center or place of worship to find out whether you can drop off donations or if there’s another way you can contribute.

How to avoid being scammed

Before giving money to an organization, do your research.

Charity Navigator, which identifies worthy charities, has a handy list of organizations that are responding in the aftermath of the storm.

For advice on avoiding fraudsters, check out tips from the Federal Trade Commission.

Take Care of  You Too:

Remember it’s also important to deal with your own feelings when you see people hurt by tragedy. Talking to family and friends about what you see and how you feel can help you deal with the aftermath of disasters like storms and earthquakes. If you feel you need further support in processing your feelings related to this tragedy the Orlando counselors at Life Skills Resource Group can help.  Please feel free to give us a call anytime at 407-355-7378 and we will get you started.  Phone consultations are always free!



Amy Smith