As the Southeastern Seaboard prepared for the descent of Hurricane Hermine, there remained one glaring problem with the typical warnings to stockpile food and take shelter indoors: Some people don't have homes to stay in or money to stock up on bread and milk. Whether you want to donate time, money, or food, there are multiple ways to help the homeless stay safe during Hurricane Hermine.
It's a well-known but often poorly-cited fact that homeless populations are doubly affected by disasters like hurricanes and have specific needs when it comes to preparing to weather the storm. Fortunately, this vulnerability is often taken into account when major storms like Hermine hit.
There are a number of organizations whose sole or partial purpose is to help those who are affected by disasters and provide relief during and after.
The best-known disaster relief organization is, of course, the American Red Cross. The Red Cross has already begun opening shelters in Georgia and South Carolina to prepare for Hermine, and the Myrtle Beach chapter is accepting volunteers. The Red Cross always accepts donation of money to support their programs.
Below are some organizations that are addressing the needs of homeless populations in areas hit by Hermine, grouped by region, and ways you might be able to help them out.
The Northeast Florida chapter of the American Red Cross is serving the homeless and those who need assistance in the Jacksonville region. Meanwhile, the Central Florida Red Cross chapter is there to help those who live in the Tampa area.
You can also donate to the Florida Disaster Fund, established after the Orlando Pulse shooting, or search the Volunteer Florida database to find nonprofits and shelters in the areas most affected by Hermine.
The Salvation Army of Northeast Florida has already opened up their shelter in Jacksonville, and is operating mobile disaster canteens to help feed people in locations around the city. You can donate to the Salvation Army or contact them at the link above for more information.
Most of Georgia is in Hermine's line of fire. Cities like Savannah and Albany are expected to bear the brunt of Hermine as she moves north from the Gulf of Mexico and Florida.
The Red Cross is opening multiple shelters throughout Southeast and Coastal Georgia to help shelter the homeless and other displaced people during Hermine. You can donate to the Georgia Red Cross easily online, or by texting REDCROSS to 90999.
The Salvation Army of Georgia has issued an urgent call for donations and volunteers, and you can easily access information about both on their website.
Mission Georgia, a religious organization set up to help with disaster relief, offers some helpful tips about ways to help provide disaster relief in Georgia, either by donating or organizing a group of volunteers.
With Charleston and the entire South Carolina coast in Hermine's path, shelters, nonprofits and food banks in the state are all taking donations and volunteers to help shelter the homeless during this storm.
The Lowcountry Food Bank accepts food donations and volunteers, and is an integral part of helping feed people during disasters in the South Carolina Lowcountry region.
The Trident United Way chapter has an excellent database of both volunteer and donation opportunities as well.
The Low Country Salvation Army is taking donations and volunteers to help cope with the region's needs during Hermine.
Eastern North Carolina, which includes coastal cities like Wilmington and the Outer Banks, are also projected to be hit as Hermine moves northward. There are a number of charities dedicated to helping homeless populations during and after disasters in the state:
The North Carolina Community Center's Disaster Relief Fund is used to help respond to disasters throughout the state, and they ask for donations at the beginning of every hurricane season.
The Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC provides food and disaster relief after major catastrophes like Hermine. People in the central and eastern parts of the state can donate food or volunteer at food banks in the Durham, Greenville, New Bern, Raleigh, Sandhills, and Wilmington areas. You can also donate money online or by mailing a check to the organization directly.
The Red Cross of Eastern North Carolina prides itself on its disaster relief preparedness, and is currently accepting volunteer applications and donations.
While Hermine has the Southeast in her grips, those of us who are lucky enough to not bear her brunt have options to help the most vulnerable people in the areas where she hits.