South Florida is collectively breathing a sigh of relief that Hurricane Dorian finally turned and continued its path parallel to the coast.
Instead, our hearts broke as images from the Bahamas started to come in and gave us a picture of the sheer devastation that the Category 5 hurricane caused as it sat over the small island nation, pummeling it hour after hour.
Immediately, the compassion and generosity of Americans was stirred, and requests started pouring in. How can we help?
After a disaster, people’s first instinct is to donate relief supplies – water, food, clothing and other household items – to send to those who have lost everything.
However, what most people do not realize is that it takes time and money to store, sort, clean and distribute donated items. So in reality, donations of clothing and household items divert resources away from our mission, which is to provide shelter, meals, relief supplies, emotional support, recovery planning and other assistance during disasters.
On the other hand, cash donations can be used right away to directly help those affected. Funds can be accessed quickly and allow more flexibility to give people what they need most after damage assessment has been completed.
When possible, the Red Cross partners with organizations that manage donations of goods as part of their primary mission. These groups are better equipped to handle all donated items and get them to those in need.
We know that people are generous and want to do everything they can to help after a disaster. The best way to support Red Cross efforts here in the U.S. and in the Bahamas is through your financial generosity.
You can make a difference in the lives of people impacted by Hurricane Dorian in both the U.S. and the Bahamas. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or text the word DORIAN to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Written by Estefania Garcia