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You never see a community come together quite like in the aftermath of a tragedy or disaster. If a natural disaster strikes your area or a nearby region, you may be wondering how you can help.
Even if someone is financially prepared, there are many challenges associated with natural disasters. DadsDollarsDebt recently lost his home after a very abrupt Tubb’s Fire Evacuation, which was the impetus for an excellent series on disaster preparedness – A Harrowing Escape Inspires the Personal Finance Community – Beyond the Emergency Fund. This is our contribution to help everyone band together and support those around us.
Here are 10 ways you can really assist families who have been impacted by natural disasters.
- Donate money. It’s simple to do, but usually the most effective and efficient way to help. Relief organizations are in constant need of financial support. You’ll want to be wary of illegitimate organizations – they can pop up after all kinds of tragedies, unfortunately. To make sure your donation is truly going toward helping families affected by disaster, donate to an organization that is well-established and is transparent about funding. Funds can help families in all kinds of ways – your donation may buy food, household supplies, or even pay for lodging or medical care. A reputable charity should be able to give you clear answers about how your donation will be used.
- Foster pets. Pets are often displaced during natural disasters or they may not be able to remain with families who are forced to evacuate. If your area remains unthreatened, you can offer to house and care for pets who might otherwise be abandoned. You can make personal arrangements or connect with animal organizations in your region to help.
- Provide diapers. Diapers are often in short supply in shelters and during the aftermath, especially for families who have been hit financially by natural disaster. Contact relief organizations and reach out to shelter leaders to ask about their diaper needs.
- Give blood. Particularly devastating natural disasters are likely to cause severe injury. Donating blood is always a great thing to do for your community, especially when a surge in injuries causes a dip in supply at the blood banks.
- Offer childcare. Many parents in areas struck by natural disaster find themselves with a huge mess to clean up – both literally and figuratively! Help these parents out by offering to watch their kids while they piece their lives back together. They are likely dealing with all kinds of stressful situations:returning to work or finding a new job, locating missing family members, finding a new home or dealing with extensive repairs… the details can seem unending. Children will also benefit from having a calm and attentive caregiver as they deal with a traumatic life event.
- Check before you send donated items. Often, certain items like clothing are not needed and can actually hinder relief workers by causing excess clutter and taking up valuable man-hours to deal with. Check with area relief organizations, community members, and shelters to find out which supplies are actually needed before you send donated items. If you’re in doubt, refer to #1 and send money instead.
- Open your home. Whether you open your home for a meal, or if you have an extra room to share with a displaced disaster victim, opening your home in any capacity can be helpful. I’ve seen community members even open up their internet connection by getting rid of the password and renaming the network “FREE WIFI” during stressful, uncertain times.
- Get medical training. Basic medical and first aid knowledge puts you in a position to help others in the event of a natural disaster.
- Go where you’re needed. Volunteers could be needed, especially if you have certain skills. Construction skills, medical knowledge, and organizational experience are all usually in demand during these times. On the other hand, clothes and excess donations aren’t the only thing that can hinder the work of relief organizations – some leaders have experienced an excess of bodies. We all want to be helpful, but in some situations, too many people heading to a disaster area can have the opposite effect. If your particular skills aren’t needed, you may end up being more of a drain on resources than you are a helpful volunteer. There are many ways to help, as evidenced here, so call ahead and ask about current needs before you volunteer and if you do feel like you might just be “taking up space” at a volunteer site, don’t be afraid to ask leaders where you might be more helpful.
- Prepare your family well. The more prepared you are as a family, the less likely you are to need help from relief workers during a natural disaster – which frees them up to help others.
Has your family ever been impacted by a natural disaster? What kind of help did you receive from your community?
For more great preparedness and support tips visit the following:
Link 1: OthalaFehu – Cool As A Cucumber
Link 2: The Retirement Manifesto – Am I A Prepper?
Link 3: Mrs. Retire to Roots – In Case Of Emergency Follow The Plan
Link 4: The Lady In Black – Emergency Preparedness
Link 5: The Green Swan – Preparing For The Worst
Link 6: Minafi – Minimal Hurricane Preparation
Link 7: A Gai Shan Life – Earthquake and disaster preparedness
Link 8: The Financial Journeyman – Emergency Preparation: Be Proactive
Link 9; John And Jane Doe – Thinking the Worst: Emergency Planning or Fighting the Last War?
Link 10: Adventure Rich – Emergency Preparation Up North
Link 11: Money Beagle – How Much Would You Replace If You Lost Everything?
Link 12: Crispy Doc – Fighting Fire With FI/RE
Link 13: She Picks Up Pennies – How Can A Planner Be Unprepared?
Link 14: Chronicles Of A Father- Getting Ready for a Natural Disaster
Link 15: Rogue Dad MD- Disrupting the Equilibrium
Link 16: Unique Gifter-10 Ways To Help Disaster Victims
Link 17: SomeRandomGuyOnline-Friday Blog Roundup – Emergency Preparedness Edition
Link 18: 99 to 1 Percent: 15 Frugal Ways To Prepare For An Emergency
Link 19: I Dream Of FIRE – Your house is burning and you can only save 10 things – what do you choose?
Link 20: Full Time Finance – Emergency Preparedness in Place
Link 21: Thinking of Someday – Are You Prepared For When An Emergency Occurs?
Link 22: My Money Wizard – Are You Mentally (and Financially) Prepared to Lose Everything?