How You Can Help in Disaster Relief

While most of us might not ever be personally impacted by a large natural disaster, they happen regularly and their effects can be felt even far away from the site of the disaster. For those located in Indiana, we recall the tornado that flattened the Starbucks in Kokomo just last year. However, disasters like Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the earthquake that shook Haiti in 2010 can take a large toll on the widespread community, even to an international level.

When disasters hit, they trigger many emotions: Fear when it strikes nearby, relief when it passes over your own home and family, uncertainty of how to move forward, and compassion that ignites the urge to help.

For those wanting to take action, there are many ways to get involved both directly or from afar through donations or other support. These ideas can help aid in situations ranging in scope from small house fires to widespread disasters.

Here are three ways you can help when disaster strikes:

  1. Organize a fundraiser. Check with your workplace, school, or place of worship to host a fundraising event, such as a chili dinner, bake sale, or 5k run/walk. Donate the proceeds to an organization such as the Red Cross or UNICEF, or determine how to allocate funds directly to the people affected by the disaster.
  2. Host a donation drive. Work with an organization or gather feedback to determine what supplies are most needed and host a donation night in your community or social circle. Items might include clothing, personal hygiene items, nonperishable food and water, and household furnishings.
  3. Just listen. Spending time with people affected by natural disasters can give them the emotional support they need to get through an extremely trying time. If someone in your circle has been impacted by a disaster, give them space to process and let them know you are there to lend a hand with whatever they most need.

Each of us is uniquely equipped to offer something to others in a time of need, so don’t be afraid to start small.