How to Help when there is a Hurricane
By Craig Nash
A Hurricane Season Public Service Announcement. (Can also be used for tornado season, flood season, earthquake season, etc.): The best way to help during a disaster is to send money directly to an organization that is already doing work in the area affected by the disaster.
Don’t collect bottles of water to send to them. They know how much water they need better than we do and already have mechanisms in place for purchasing and distributing it. They just need money to buy the water.
Don’t collect food to send to them. They know who needs the food because they are there. They know what foods are appropriate. They know what types of food they are low on and what types of food they have too much of. Sending them unsolicited food complicates their work. They need money to buy the food.
They need the flexibility to spend the money on
- Pet Food.
- Assorted Clothes.
Purchasing or collecting these items to send makes us feel a lot better than sending money to a trusted organization. It makes us feel like we are actually doing something. But even though it feels better, it is far less helpful. Whether it is the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Texas Baptist Men, or a Feeding America Food Bank on the coast (for example South East Texas Food Bank), or a local church in a coastal town, there are organizations that know the needs and work day in and day out every day to hone and improve the processes for providing relief during a disaster. They can do a lot more with accumulated money than they can with accumulated bags of stuff. What they need is money.
Craig Nash is regional manager for child hunger outreach at Baylor’s Texas Hunger Initiative. He enjoys talking and writing about Waco, country music, and faith. He blogs at 17dutton.com.
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