When Hurricane Maria hit, the storm caused complete devastation. With the power out for millions, homes lost and lives changed forever, even months later Puerto Rico is still in recovery mode. But now residents might have something else to worry about. Hurricane season officially started June 1, and the still-rebuilding island may be in the path of danger yet again. If you’re wondering how to help Puerto Rico during hurricane season, check out some of the ways that you can support the survivors.
There are plenty of donated items that go unused. Yes, even in the hurricane-stricken area. Instead of assuming that you know what’s needed or sending your donations with just any organization, make sure that the agency that’s responsible for distributing the donations is actually getting the items to the people who need them. Ask for a list of specific donations that are in high need—and don’t stray from it.
You don’t have to take a trip to Puerto Rico to help. It’s understandable that you might not want to take the kiddos to the island as hurricane season starts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t volunteer your time. The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) website can help you to connect with local (or at least, local-ish) organizations that offer a way to help. Community, faith-based and other organizations may offer opportunities to help sort donations or package items to send to Puerto Rico
FEMA lists cash donations as the most effective way to help Puerto Rico during the recovery process. While collecting toys, clothes or water may seem like a good idea, if they don’t go to the “right” organization (in other words, an aid organization that knows how to appropriately distribute the items), they could end up sitting in a warehouse somewhere or go to waste. If you do donate cash, make sure to pick a reputable organization—such as a well-known or trusted faith-based, community or aid agency.
Have a Fundraiser
You don’t have to come up with donation money all by yourself. As Puerto Rico prepares for hurricane season, hold your own fundraiser to help those who were affected by Maria (which is pretty much everyone). Get your child’s preschool, your religious institution or a community group to help you sponsor an event or family-friendly activity, such as a carnival with a bounce house or charity parents vs. kids kickball game.
Featured Photo: Trish Hartmann via Flickr