Hurricane Sandy, while a tragic event that has disrupted millions of lives, has also demonstrated one of the greatest things about our nation: when tragedy strikes, people come together to help out. Individuals, families, businesses and even celebrities are working to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy in a wide variety of ways; everything from donating money to donating clothing, blankets and canned goods. Here’s what you can do if you want to help send aid to Hurricane Sandy Victims:
Donate to a Sandy Relief Fund
Depending on how you want to donate, there are several Hurricane Sandy relief funds being run by various organizations:
Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund: a 501(c)3 organization based in NJ that was organized by the Governor and his wife
The American Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund: run by the Red Cross, a 501(c)3 organization
The United Way Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund: administered by United Way - this fund gives you the ability to allocate funds to a specific state or wherever it’s needed most
Alternately, you can donate to one of the organizations affiliated with the National Donations Management Network.
During disasters of this scale, the need for blood rises. The problem is exacerbated by the cancellation of blood drives in affected areas. The American Red Cross has some great information about giving blood, or you can go through a local organization where you live.
If you don’t have cash or physical goods you want to donate, but instead you’d like to volunteer, FEMA has a great tool that helps you find volunteer opportunities in your desired zip code. You can also help out with a local branch of a national organization; with all of the donations coming in, there’s always a need for help to sort and organize these donations.
If you’d like to donate physical goods, please confirm the needs of physical goods before you start collecting. Donating unsolicited physical goods can take time away from the important task of getting resources into the hands of disaster survivors. If you do want to donate physical goods, wait until needs have been assessed and donate only those items that are actually needed.
However you’d like to help, keep in mind that Hurricane Sandy recovery is going to last a lot longer than national media coverage. Check back in a few weeks or months to see if any volunteer opportunities have opened up, and if there has been a need identified for physical goods.
Also, be alert to disaster scams if you want to help! It’s not uncommon for new organizations and “charities” to appear after a natural disaster and take cash or other goods from people who want to help. Only donate to trusted sources to ensure that the people in need are actually benefiting from your donation!