After the unexpected tragedy caused by the devastating tornado that affected the Southern part of the US, which left many dead and thousands of victims, we should all be concerned about the people living in those communities impacted by the disaster. Many people have lost their homes, food and other belongings, and in some cases family members and friends. In view of this disaster, we can all do a small part to support the immediate needs and recovery in the communities impacted by the storms.
So, how can we help the tornado victims? Below are 5 practical ways to help:
Blood donation: Don’t have money to donate? You can still help by donating blood to save someone's life. Blood supply has been very low throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and now with the tornado disaster, there is a greater need to donate blood to victims who need it to survive. Therefore, we encourage you to find a blood donation center in your local area where you can donate blood and do your part to help. Visit https://www.redcrossblood.org/ or https://americasblood.org/
Food and water donation: Many of the tornado victims have lost their homes. Therefore, while staying in shelters and other temporary housing, they need food and water to sustain them until they are able to get back on their feet. You can donate some canned foods and bottled water to local food banks and community organizations that are helping families to recover from the disaster. Check out the FEMA website for organizations like the Salvation Army and Samaritan’s Purse, that are answering the call to help: https://www.fema.gov/blog/voluntary-organizations-are-helping-kentucky-recover-devastating-tornadoes-heres-how-you-can
Help donate clothes and other needed items: If you have any clothes that you can no longer use in your closet, or if you have excess toiletries or utensils, a good idea would be to send them to the organizations on the ground in the affected communities that are caring for the victims of the tornado. With this week being a week that people often re-gift items they are given as holiday gifts but don’t need, it’s the perfect time to give away some of these items to victims in need.
Make a financial contribution: There is a good number of reputable disaster relief agencies, churches and organizations that provide services for the victims of disasters. Many are already on the ground in Kentucky and other states and could use your help. Donate whatever funds you can to one of these organizations. Combined with other donations, your money will go a long way to help the victims of the disaster get back on their feet. One well known and reputable organization that comes to mind is the American Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org/
Give help onsite: There are dozens of local groups that are in need of volunteers to do boots on the ground volunteering in the disaster areas. Assistance needed include: medical and emotional care, plus other emergency assistance for survivors, along with cleanup and rescue teams. So, if you are able or available to travel to the disaster site, you are encouraged to plan and offer any physical support that you can.
If you are thinking about donating and/or offering physical support, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests the following tips to keep in mind:
Before collecting or donating items, confirm the items are needed, and determine how they will get to affected areas.
Don’t self-deploy to disaster areas unless you have family in the area or are deployed by a trusted organization. Trusted organizations operating in the affected area know where volunteers are needed. Work with an established nonprofit organization to make sure you have the appropriate safety, training and skills needed to effectively respond.
Recovery will last much longer than media coverage. There will be volunteer needs for many months, often many years after the disaster. So, if you can’t help now, you may still be able to help in the future.
GSS Agents, we encourage you to spread kindness, in any way you can. With your conscious action and small acts of kindness, you can help others, save lives and change the world!
Written and submitted by GSS Agent #103