Natural disasters can be absolutely devastating – not only to individual families, but to entire communities. As summer begins, we are entering a time when many natural disasters become more common in America. From hurricanes to tornadoes earthquakes, flash floods and more, a natural disaster can happen just about anywhere.
And when a natural disaster does happen near you or your community, it’s important for you to understand how to give back. After a natural disaster, there is often quite a bit of confusion, and it is difficult to pick up the pieces, and to get things back to normal in your community.
In this guide, we’ll discuss some of the best ways that you can give back to your community after a natural disaster, and help your friends and neighbors get back to their normal day-to-day lives, after the disruption of a major disaster. Let’s get started.
1. Give Blood After The Disaster
Natural disasters often cause serious injuries, or even deaths. Falling debris, car wrecks, and other such problems can cause life-threatening wounds, and often claim the lives of victims.
Because of this, one of the best things that you can do immediately after a natural disaster is give blood. Blood loss is one of the biggest causes of shock and death after an injury sustained in a natural disaster – and due to the logistics of shipping blood into a disaster area during and after the disaster, there may not be a large enough supply to help all of the people who have been injured.
This means that it’s important for as many people as possible to give blood in the wake of a serious natural disaster that has caused multiple injuries. Contact local hospitals, and organizations like the American Red Cross immediately after a disaster, to learn where you can donate blood, and how else you can help during a disaster.
However, the best time to give blood is not necessarily just after a disaster. Giving blood multiple times throughout the year is a great idea, and can help local hospitals respond more effectively to crises and emergencies, like natural disaster.
Donor blood can last more than 42 days – so if you give repeatedly throughout the year, you will be able to help hospitals keep plenty of extra blood on-hand, to make it easier to respond to emergencies.
2. Volunteer At Shelters And Other Emergency Facilities
After a major natural disaster, such as a hurricane or a tornado in the community, there will be a lot of need for able-bodied volunteers who can help organize rescue efforts, and perform tasks like setting up emergency shelters, organizing survivors, providing meals and water to those who have been affected, and setting up beds, chairs, and other basic necessities at emergency shelters.
If you have been unharmed by the disaster, and you have the spare time to help, you should consider volunteering at one of these shelters or emergency facilities. This is especially true if you are a nurse, doctor, or another healthcare professional.
The Red Cross is a great resource for finding out how you can help as a volunteer after a natural disaster. By signing up, you can get started, and learn how you can help with feeding, housing, and sheltering affected individuals during a natural disaster.
3. Offer To House Or Feed Affected Individuals
If you can’t volunteer at a shelter or another facility, you could also consider helping people out on your own. If you were unaffected by a disaster, but you have friends, neighbors, relatives, or acquaintances who lost their homes or were displaced by a large-scale disaster like a hurricane, you can consider providing them with temporary shelter, food, and other basic necessities.
Recovering from a natural disaster is never easy – but when our communities come together and we help one another, we can ensure that all affected individuals are able to get back on their feet quickly, and have everything they need to resume a normal life after a serious crisis or disaster.
Do your best to take vulnerable people into your home, and help them as much as you can. Remember, what goes around comes around – and next time disaster hits, you could be the one who is affected.
4. Use Crowdfunding To Help Friends Or Family
One of the easiest ways to help friends or family in need after a crisis is by crowdfunding. You can use websites like GoFundMe, YouCaring, and others to raise money for those who have been affected by a catastrophe. This money could be used for a variety of things, including:
- Staying at a hotel or shelter while their home is being repaired
- Replacing lost or missing valuables
- Groceries and food
- Covering expenses while they are unable to work
If you decide to start a crowdfunding campaign, you can share it across social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to raise awareness, and help those in need get the relief that they need from a natural disaster.
One of the best parts about running a crowdfunding campaign is that it allows you to help out friends, family, and loved ones – even if you are not in the affected area. You can make a difference, whether or not you’re able to make it to the community that has been struck by a natural disaster.
5. Participate In A Fundraiser For Affected Individuals
Looking to participate in a more local fundraiser, and bring in more money to support the community? See if you can participate in a fundraiser that will help provide money to victims of the natural disasters.
Many local charities and non-profits will likely begin fundraising campaigns in the wake of a serious natural disaster, such as widespread fires, hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, or tornadoes. You may be able to find more information about which organizations are assisting with recovery efforts by contacting your local municipal government office, or disaster relief organizations like The Red Cross.
There are many different types of fundraisers. You may be asked to solicit donations from local businesses or influential individuals, or to seek business partners who can help promote your campaign. You may even have to canvass individual people to see if they are willing to donate, and help the relief effort.
6. Donate Clothing, Food, Or Other Items
If you don’t have time to volunteer at a shelter or help with a fund-raising campaign, you can still make a huge difference in the immediate aftermath of a large natural disaster.
This is the perfect time to get rid of gently-used items that you no longer need, and donate them to shelters and other organizations that can use them to the benefit of affected individuals. Find a local charity or any nonprofit helping with the recovery effort, and you can donate food, clothing, and other items that will make a real difference.
Some of the best things you can donate include:
- Canned and nonperishable goods – Dried foods, canned goods, and pre-packaged, shelf stable foods like grains, cereal, oatmeal, and other such goods are always in-demand after a major emergency. You can donate any of the items that you have in your pantry, and make a huge difference by feeding individuals affected by the crisis.
- Blankets, sleeping bags and bedding – One of the biggest challenges for individuals displaced by natural disasters is finding enough beds. Sleeping pads, bags, blankets, and other bedding such as pillows are always useful during a disaster.
- Extra clothing – Many people lose their homes and all of their possession during natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes. Extra clothing is always useful for charities and disaster relief organizations. This is the perfect time to get rid of unnecessary wardrobe items, or to finally donate those hand-me-downs that your kids grew out of a few years ago!
A natural disaster is the perfect time to donate things that you don’t need, and your donations can go to needy individuals who have been affected by this crisis. That’s a win-win!
7. Donate Gift Cards To Shelters And Non-Profits
Don’t have any items that you can donate to a shelter or a non-profit, or looking to make a difference even though you’re farther away from the disaster area? Gift cards may be the right choice! Just about every business sells gift cards, and they can be donated to charitable organizations of your choice!
Not sure which gift cards will make the biggest difference in the affected community? Here are a few suggestions for the best gift cards to buy for communities that have been struck by a natural disaster.
- Grocery stores – This one is a no-brainer. Feeding displaced individuals is one of the biggest challenges of any volunteer effort. A larger natural disaster can easily leave thousands of people homeless – and they will mostly be dependent on emergency shelters and charities for food, at least for several days or weeks.
Local grocery store chains sell gift cards that are very useful for disaster recovery efforts. In fact, it’s often a better idea to send a gift card than it is to donate canned goods. This is because volunteers must inspect all food donations to ensure that they have not expired, and that they’re safe to eat. In contrast, a grocery store gift card can be used to buy brand-new, safe food – and even fresh food that is not in cans.
- Superstores – Superstores like Walmart, Target, Meijer, and K-Mart sell a little bit of everything. Most of these stores sell groceries and food items, as well as other things that may be useful for recovery efforts – such as clothing, fans and heaters, camping supplies, sleeping bags, bedding, pillows, and more.
A gift card to one of these stores can be a very valuable donation, and help charities “fill in the gaps”, and purchase items they need that have not yet been donated by helpful individuals.
- Outdoor goods stores – Gift cards to outdoor stores like Cabela’s, REI, and Bass Pro Shops can be very useful for the recovery effort after a natural disaster. Because so many people are exposed to the elements, organizations may need to buy things like tents, warm clothing, supplies like portable camp stoves, and bedrolls, blankets, and other outdoor supplies.
- “Open-loop” gift cards – An American Express or VISA gift card is a great way to donate to a charity, and help them get the funds that they need to take care of individuals affected by a natural disaster. These gift cards can be spent just about anywhere, just like credit cards. This makes them a great alternative to cash, if you feel uncomfortable sending cash in the mail, or don’t want to write a check.
Do More With Your Money – Buy Discounted Gift Cards Now!
If you’re looking to donate as much as you can to relief efforts after a natural disaster in your community, but you’re on a tight budget, you’re in the right place! At EJ Gift Cards, we sell gift cards to hundreds of different stores, retailers and restaurants – at a discount!
If you choose to purchase the gift cards that we sell, you can save quite a bit of money on each individual card. This means that you can maximize the value of your charitable donations, and do more with your money!
We sell gift cards to just about every store. From outdoor goods stores, to local and national grocery chains, and much more. Shop our selection of discounted gift cards now, and get a great deal on a gift card – while giving back to your community in a time of crisis!
If you have questions or comments about our services, feel free to check out our FAQ, or contact one of our customer service representatives now. We’d be happy to hear from you, and answer any questions you may have about EJ Gift Cards!