How to help victims of Hurricane Irma

Wondering how to help? Here are several useful ways you can volunteer or donate.

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  • The United States is still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and now Hurricane Irma is on a pathway of destruction, already claiming victims and destroying homes and other structures. According to UNICEF, "Hurricane Irma is one of the most powerful storms ever recorded over the Atlantic Ocean."

  • With so much damage and destruction in the forecast (which only adds to the damage in Texas), people are searching for ways to help - whatever your situation, you can help in one of these ways:

  • Thoughts and prayers also require action

  • In times of turmoil, many people resort to praying and thinking of those in harm's way, something that shouldn't be overlooked. Prayers have profoundly impacted many lives. However, prayer coupled with action can be even more helpful. People uniting in prayer before going out to help or donating is the most effective way to help. Use prayer for guidance to know how to help and to help comfort and give peace to those who need it.

  • Árvores caídas, casas sem telhado o verdadeiro cenário do abandono. Nada mal pra uma "chuvinha" #hurricaneirma #hurricane #irma

    A post shared by Carol Capel 👻carolinecapel3 (@carolcapeloficial) on

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  • So get on your knees and pray or meditate, then take action:

  • Take action

    • Many organizations that work to provide disaster relief take monetary donations. Catholic Charities USA and the American Red Cross are some organizations who work on-site to help in affected Hurricane Irma areas. And according to PBS NewsHour, they need prayers and financial donations.

    • Humanitarian Services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates LDS Charities, where money donated to the Humanitarian Aid Fund to "provide emergency response and disaster relief" by donating water, food, and other immediate and long-term needs. Additionally, the site states, "100% of every dollar donated is used to help those in need without regard to race, religion, or ethnic origin." LDS Charities invites on-site and other volunteer opportunities, including helping in Hurricane Harvey disaster recovery.

    • UNICEF takes donations to help with getting medicines, food and water to affected areas.

    • GoFundMe has consolidated all Hurricane Irma fundraising campaigns here.

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  • Other help

    • Children are often also displaced or become victims themselves in a natural disaster. Save the Children has organized a children's relief fund where donations "help us keep vulnerable children safe and provide desperately needed relief to families who need it most." According to PBS NewsHour, this organization has helped create "Child Friendly Spaces" in emergency shelters where children are able to be kids in the midst of disaster. They can read, play and be cared for while the adults deal with the stress and aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

    • Blood is in high demand during natural disasters. If you can donate blood to help those in need, contact American Red Cross blood bank to donate or LifeSouth if you are local to Florida.

    • People need places to go and hotels fill up quickly when evacuations are ordered. Some people have family they can stay with, while others have nowhere to turn. Airbnb is encouraging property owners to open their homes or rentals to evacuees free of charge.

  • While help is necessary and needed, sometimes well-meaning volunteers and donators give things that cause more problems:

  • Don't self-deploy to areas in need

  • This can complicate matters further, so it's best to go under the direction of organizations trained for these situations. FEMA states, "To ensure volunteer safety, as well as the safety of disaster survivors, volunteers should only go into affected areas with a specific volunteer assignment, proper safety gear, and valid identification." They suggest registering with a volunteer or charitable organization and wait for instruction.

  • #Repost @ericabennett ・・・ Downtown Jacksonville took a beating. There's rushing water everywhere. 😔 #HurricaneIrma

    A post shared by Whaddup Whaddup Yo 🗣 (@tysheeks) on

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  • Donate goods that are needed, not other miscellaneous items

  • "Please do not donate unsolicited goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, medicine, or perishable foodstuffs at this time. While donators have loving intentions in providing these articles, when used personal items are donated, the helping agencies must redirect their staff away from providing direct services to survivors in order to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors," states the FEMA website.

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  • If you are in Hurricane Irma's path, please follow evacuation orders or do what you can ensure your safety. As much as possible, be prepared with water, food, and medications you and your family needs. If you can, open your home to those in need. And please, stay safe.

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Wendy is a regular contributor for familyshare.com and does media reviews. Website: https://survivorshopeandhealing.wordpress.com/ for victims of sexual abuse. Blog: https://wendyejessen.wordpress.com Twitter: @WendyJessen

Website: https://survivorshopeandhealing.wordpress.com/

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