How can I help during a disaster?

Polly Dunn

With a number of recent disasters, including devastating tornadoes across the country, there are lots of ways you can help! Here are just a few:

  • Donate items. After a disaster there is usually an overwhelming call for bottled water, canned food, personal hygiene items, and baby supplies.  Clothes, shoes, and toys for children are also needed. Pick up some of these items at the store and deliver them to a donation center or drop-off point. Donation centers frequently run out of boxes, so if you can bring boxes (cardboard or plastic) then that will help too.
  • Donate money. Give to the Red Cross, United Way, Salvation Army or other reputable charity organizations to benefit disaster victims. 
  • Donate time. Volunteer your time to disaster relief efforts. Depending on your skills, you may be asked to help in different areas (for example, if you know how to operate a chainsaw, you may be asked to clear trees). In the days immediately following a disaster, only trained first responders are allowed in the disaster zone. If you are not a first responder, then get ready to volunteer in other ways. You can serve meals and deliver cold water to first responders in the field. At donation centers, you can sort clothes by size and gender, or you might be asked to separate baby supplies from food and bottled water. Once the immediate danger has passed, you can also help with the clean up and rebuilding process. Typically clean up days are scheduled in affected areas in the weeks following the disaster.  All you have to do is show up, and you’ll find that there’s always something you can do to help!

Best of luck!  And for more information on how kids can help in disaster relief efforts, check out my recent blog post - Kids Can Help Too!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.