The weekend before finals my junior year of college, the house I lived in with six girls caught on fire, and we lost everything, including our puppy, Bo. It was a horrible and traumatic experience, and we had to find replacement clothing, furniture and textbooks. We were grateful for the clothing that friends gave us, and the old furniture that family dropped off, and yet, what I remember most was how humbling it was to have complete strangers selflessly come to our aid. Our university's athletic department donated coats, and my second cousin's friend even gave me a generous gift card. It still gives me goosebumps that people who barely knew us or didn't know us at all gave anything and everything they could.
Because of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and wildfires out west, there are families right now who have to rebuild entire homes. It breaks my heart to think of their loss, and I can't imagine the depth of what they are experiencing.
Now, you may think I'm going to say that now is the perfect time to de-clutter and donate your gently used goods to help those in need, but I don't actually suggest that. If you do de-clutter and donate, I applaud you for your huge heart and ample kindness! However, experience has taught me that most of the goods people send to devastated areas are typically stored in warehouses and rarely used. It's simply because volunteers are limited and sorting through donations is not their first priority. The best way to help is by making a monetary donation to an organization that knows exactly what these affected areas need, whether it be food, water, diapers, toiletries, etc. There are many organizations you can donate to, and here's a short list that covers almost every essential need to start.
1. World Vision
Donations that go toward Hurricane Irma Disaster Relief and helps deliver urgent supplies, emergency aid and long-term recovery for children and families in the worst-hit areas. 90 percent of donations go to World Vision's efforts, and the organization is upfront about sharing that ten percent go to fundraising and management. Donations for Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief provide food, water, first aid supplies, clothing, and temporary shelter as well as hygiene kits with soap, shampoo, diapers and more.
One of the largest humanitarian organizations, the Red Cross lets you earmark your donations for victims of Irma, Harvey, earthquakes, wildfires and more. On average, $0.91 of your donation will go directly toward helping those victims and provides shelter, food and emergency supplies to victims while supporting the efforts of emergency workers. If you're going to make an Amazon purchase, the company has partnered with the Red Cross and UNICEF to make donating easy, while AmazonSmile, the website's foundation arm (which has the same products, prices and shopping features of Amazon) will donate 0.5% of your purchase to the charitable organization of your choice.
Without volunteers, so many organizations would be helpless during times of crisis. Your donation will support the volunteers who help rebuild these disaster-stricken communities.
They help with more than just diapers. They supply families with personal hygiene products, adult incontinence medical supplies, baby care items, feminine care products and so much more that we often overlook but are still needed just the same.
Ok, because I'm such a huge fan of Chip and Joanna from Fixer Upper, I had to include their efforts on my list. They are always impressing me with their kindness, and here they are doing it again for their home state. Their shop, Magnolia, made a Texas Forever Shirt that is $26, and 100 percent of the profits go to helping victims of Hurricane Harvey. It will be on sale in their online shop until Sept. 30th.
Even if you are able to make a $10 a donation, I can honestly attest that you will impact the lives of these victims more than you may realize. When we come together, anything is possible and achievable. Now go out and do good!