Natural Disasters: The Road to Recovery and How to Give Back

Within the last month, millions of Americans have been touched in some way by natural disaster….and depending on where you live in the country or world, you may or may not have heard all of the details of each. A severe weather event, known as a derecho (checkout this blog for more info on what a derecho is!), took place across the Midwestern United States August 10-11, 2020, wreaking moderate to severe damage. On August 27, Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana, leaving many have been left without homes, food, clothing, and other essential needs.he journey back to any place of seemingly normality will be on the time-scale of years, not months, for many. There are areas that are expected to be without running water and electricity for months. And now? Less than a month after the derecho, multiple wildfires are burning in the west. We care about all those impacted by these natural disasters, and we wanted to share resources to include ways to give back to those impacted by these events.

Lake Charles, LA. Photo Courtesy: Elise Venable (@VenableMBBS)

While every donation made has a powerful impact, it is important to do your due diligence before donating to ensure that the money goes to those impacted in the best, most efficient way possible.

Where to Give Back Monetarily….

  • The Cajun Navy (a nonprofit, citizen-led disaster response team helping with Hurricane Laura). You can give back via the link to their Paypal located here.
  • Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP) – a local nonprofit in Iowa
  • SBP (provide immediate assistance to disaster-impacted families in need across the country and will help fund long-term solutions around disaster recovery). Their website breaks down how much each donation helps them (ie, $100 provides protective gear for 10 volunteers). Donate here.
  • Houston Food Bank – Every $10 you donate provides thirty meals; helps Hurricane Laura victims. Donate here.
  • All Hands and Hearts – an emergency response organization that deploys volunteers to disaster sites to help with cleaning, rebuilding homes and creating a long-term recovery plan. Donate here.
  • Operation BBQ Relief – Founded in May 2011 after the Joplin tornado, volunteers from competition BBQ teams come together to feed displaced families, police, fire, National Guard, and emergency personnel. Donate here.
  • California Fire Foundation brings immediate, short-term relief to victims of fire and other natural disasters throughout California. Learn more here.
  • Team Rubicon – Unites veterans who have returned from service with first responders to rapidly provide relief to communities in need. They have added a contact-free emergency food delivery program to keep those impacted by disasters fed, while keeping safe from the threat of COVID-19. Donate here.

Where to Donate Goods

If you prefer to donate goods versus monetarily, you may do so at the organizations below:

  • Second Harvest Donations – Items being sought for donations include diapers, new and unopened hygiene products, toiletries, cleaning products, and non-perishable food items. These items can be dropped off at 700 Edwards Ave. from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • The Cajun Navy – Some items that we are in need of are as follows: Cleaning Materials, Rubber Boots, Bug Spray, Bleach, Wipes, Gloves, Masks, Respirators, Disinfectants etc.
  • Louisiana Baptists – They provide a list of their needs here, as well as a list of six different locations that you can drop them off at. Categories of needs include work products, food products, and hygiene products.
  • ***NOTE: Due to the overwhelming response over the past few days of donations of toiletry and other essential items to United Way of Southeast Louisiana, the non-profit has hit capacity to collect items.***
  • To donate items to those in Iowa, please check out this list of what and where to donate in multiple different towns.

Where to Volunteer Your Time…

  • Houston Food Bank – They need volunteers to help sort, clean and pack the food that will be continually dispatched as conditions allow. Learn more here.
  • Operation BBQ Team – They are in need volunteers throughout the year in many different areas, including Deployments, Warehouse, Fundraising, Marketing, Management, Clerical, and more. Learn more here. Working to help those impacted by Hurricane Laura and the August Derecho.
  • All Hands and Hearts – You can sign up to be a volunteer on their website. Note that it is a 12-week commitment.
  • United Way of East Central Iowa – check this website for ways to assist those affected by the August Derecho, (check frequently as volunteer needs change quickly)

There are a plethora of charities out there, and this is by no means a complete list. However, if you’ve found an organization to give back to, you can use sites like Charity Navigator or Guidestar to help guide your decision. These websites grade nonprofits on their effectiveness and financial wellness, ensuring that you know how your money is being spent. If there is a charity that you think should be added to the list, please reach out and let us know!

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