How to Help After a Crisis
By Zac Pingle, Staff Writer
Disasters can sometimes make people feel hopeless, like there is nothing that you can do about what happened. The truth is that everyone can do at least something to help after a crisis. This article is intended to inform you on how to help others after a crisis, and how to make a difference.
Donate Money to a Charity
Charities and disaster-relief organization always need funding for resources, volunteers and logistic issues. Many charities and organizations have also made it very easy to donate, and some have even created a system that lets you donate via text. If you can spare some cash, donating to a reputable organization can help. Unfortunately, not all charities and organizations will put all of your money towards helping others. Make sure that the majority of your donation goes directly to helping others. For example, the Red Cross has an average 91 cents to the dollar conversion towards humanitarian efforts.
If you’re not confident that your money will go directly to those in need, you could buy supplies and send them to a local church or charitable organization in the area of need. However, if you just start buying random items for others to use, it could cause a logistical mess for the charity or organization. So make sure that you are buying items on a pre-approved list by a charity before you start buying.
Click here for a list of charities and organizations approved by NBC News.
If you can’t spare much cash for the cause, providing awareness about the charity could also help provide support. Tell your friends and family about the charity that you want to support, and you could even spread awareness on social media.
During a crisis, a lot of blood is transported from all over the country. This means that several blood banks are going to be even lower on blood than normal. Thankfully, the Red Cross has made it remarkably easy to donate blood.
The Red Cross should be able to work around your schedule to draw blood when you aren’t buzy. In fact, you could even organize your own blood drive with the Red Cross. It could make for a fun office party or neighborhood get-together.
Nothing you can do would help more than volunteering in person. Although, volunteering could be a little tricky. If you are not geographically close to the disaster area, you may have to travel a long way to be able to help at the site of the crisis. You could also volunteer more remotely. Volunteers who do travel may need someone to support them from their home town, in which case you could help by house-sitting or otherwise assisting them while they’re gone.
The best way to find out how you could help the most through volunteering is to contact the organization that you want to volunteer for. Tell the organization where you are located and what skills you can bring to the table, like if you have experience as an EMT or Construction Foreman, anything that would be particularly helpful. You can help even if you don’t have any specific qualifications by handing out supplies and helping to clean up the aftermath.
Think Globally, Act Locally
Even the smallest actions can mean a world of difference to people who are in need. If you are in the area that has been hit with a disaster, the simple act of letting a neighbor use your wifi or giving them shelter for the night could keep them warm and let their family know that they’re still alive. If you are not close to the area of crisis, giving your support online can raise the morale of many people that have been affected by the disaster.
Here are a few actions that don’t take much, but could mean a big difference to someone else:
- Providing transportation to someone without a car
- Providing someone with a meal
- Giving emotional support
- Lending a cell phone to someone to let them call their family
- Helping someone clean up debris from a disaster
- Giving out basic supplies (toilet paper, soap, clothes, diapers, etc.)