How To Help Hurricane Florence Victims, Because This Storm Will Have A Lasting Impact

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Florence has already left at least nine people dead and nearly a million people without electricity as it advances across the Carolinas, The New York Times reported on Saturday, and it is projected to cause even more devastation. Although Florence was quickly downgraded to a tropical storm on Friday, it is expected to generate heavy rain and coastal flooding. In light of the lasting damage the storm is expected to cause, it is critical to help Hurricane Florence victims, and there are a number of ways to do so.

When making donations to charities and nonprofit organizations, it is important to be conscious of where donations are really going. Charity Navigator — a charity assessment group — has carefully vetted a number of local and national organizations that are providing general aid, medical assistance, shelter, food, and other resources to people affected by the storm, and that list is a good place to start. All of the organizations listed on the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) website have also been vetted.

Although financial donations are much-needed, there are many other ways to help storm victims if donating money is not a possibility. Donating high-priority items like food, fostering animals, and volunteering are all examples of ways to make a difference during and after the storm, and many local and national organizations have assembled lists of resources and volunteering opportunities.

Donate To Organizations Helping Affected Communities

There are many organizations working on Hurricane Florence relief efforts at the local and national levels. The American Red Cross — which is accepting donations online or by phone or mail — has deployed equipment, supplies, food, and other resources in multiple southeastern states, and has also set up emergency shelters to accommodate the hundreds of people who have had to evacuate their homes.

More local organizations include the North Carolina Community Foundation — which has reactivated its disaster relief fund — and Harvest Hope Food Bank, which has ordered extra food for the storm and is also accepting financial donations. Charity Navigator and NVOAD have compiled longer, more comprehensive lists on their respective websites of organizations working to provide assistance to hurricane victims.

Donate Resources Such As Food Or Sanitary Products

Donating money may not always be possible, but organizations are also seeking supplies like food, sanitary products, children's toys, and more. The Diaper Bank of North Carolina, which provides families in poverty with personal hygiene products, is seeking donations of diapers, wipes, and sanitary pads that can be mailed to their headquarters at 1311 East Club Blvd., Durham, NC 27704. A North Carolina-based food pantry organization called Loaves & Fishes, meanwhile, is seeking high-priority food donations — such as canned foods and cereal — that it has listed on its website. These are just a couple of ways to support local organizations if a financial donation isn't feasible.

Donate To Or Signal-Boost Verified Fundraisers

While it is important to be cautious with online fundraisers, GoFundMe has verified a few fundraisers for Hurricane Florence so that people can donate to specific causes. For example, animal rescue group Frank's Nation has been verified by GoFundMe as it raises money to cover the expenses of volunteers who look for and rescue dogs in areas affected by the storm. Task Force 75 — a volunteer group of veterans that has brought boats and supplies to North Carolina to assist with disaster relief operations — has also been verified. And even if a donation isn't possible at this time, signal-boosting these fundraisers on social media is a helpful way to raise awareness.

Support A Local Animal Shelter Or Rescue Organization

People are not the only ones affected by Florence — animals are, too, and there are numerous organizations focusing on animal rescue efforts. Charleston Animal Society is one such organization working to combat animal cruelty, and it has already evacuated dozens of animals out of the storm's path. The Charleston Animal Society accepts financial donations on its website.

Fostering a pet is another way to support animal shelters and rescue initiatives. According to BuzzFeed, many animal shelters on the East Coast struggled to evacuate because they hit capacity and were responsible for more animals than they could safely take care of. One way to help is by fostering an animal in a region affected by the storm; Saving Grace in North Carolina is one of many organizations seeking people to foster and adopt animals.

Volunteer

Volunteering with an organization engaged in relief efforts is another important way to help Hurricane Florence victims. The Red Cross is seeking volunteers in North and South Carolina to work shifts of six to 12 hours. Harvest Hope Food Bank, meanwhile, is seeking volunteers to pack food bags for disaster relief. A great way to get involved is to reach out to a specific organization to see if they could use any volunteers.

Give Blood

According to NBC News, many blood drives have been canceled in regions affected by Florence, and while organizations like the Red Cross maintain a blood supply for emergencies, this supply is perishable. As a result, the Red Cross is encouraging people to donate blood so that it can better respond to storm victims' medical needs.

From donating money to donating time, there are many different ways to help storm victims, and that will continue to be crucial after Florence progresses across the Southeast.