The ongoing coronavirus crisis has demonstrated just how willing people are to help organizations to provide relief during a difficult time. From sewing non-medical PPE to free up supplies for hospitals, to volunteering to deliver groceries to the elderly, the public is proving that sometimes disaster situations really do bring out the best in people. Here are some more ways you can support health and relief organizations here in the U.S.
1. Support health and relief organizations by volunteering
In the event of a disaster, both natural and health, large numbers of people are required to help ensure that aid and relief efforts move as quickly and smoothly as possible. While these are often people in specific industries, such as the healthcare and supermarket workers on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis, volunteers are important for doing non-specialized tasks.
You can find a volunteer position to suit your particular personality and skill set, whether it is through fundraising, providing education and information, or distributing food, water and supplies during a crisis. For instance, volunteering as part of a Disaster Action Team will make you a first responder in a disaster zone. Volunteering to donate blood is more behind-the-scenes, but just as crucial.
Some volunteer positions have you interacting directly with those who need your help, while other positions may have you assembling hygiene kits or collecting clothing for victims. There are so many ways to help.
2. Donate to a disaster relief fund
It often takes communities months, sometimes even years, to recover from a crisis. Natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires destroy property and crops, therefore displacing people and destroying sources of food and income. Vast amounts of resources are needed to provide aid and necessary equipment, such as PPE for hospital workers treating coronavirus patients. Making monthly or regular donations to a disaster relief fund will help ensure that the funds are there to provide relief during times of crisis. In addition, your donations will provide continued support and education long after the initial event. For instance, making a hurricane relief donation provides food and shelter to families forced to evacuate during a hurricane, then helps them to create a recovery plan to get back on their feet.
3. Educate yourself
Educating yourself about what to expect in the event of a disaster will help you to prepare an action plan for you and your family’s survival. This could mean, for instance, devising an evacuation plan in the event of a hurricane or wildfire, ensuring that you practice this on an annual basis. Or it could mean learning what protective steps should be taken to prevent the spread of infectious disease. By ensuring you are as prepared as possible, you will be less of a burden on support organizations. This will free them up to help those who need them most. You should also consider taking a first aid training course. You will learn necessary first aid skills, such as how to perform CPR and dressing cuts and burns. There are specialized courses available for lifeguarding and child first aid. You will be better equipped to deal with a disaster situation as you learn first aid skills. You may even save a life!
4. Support health and relief organizations by speaking up
Share what you are doing to help, and include your friends and family. Everyone knows that “many hands make light work”. Post what you’re doing on social media. This is not to boast, but to invite and encourage others to do the same. You can even start a fund-raising campaign on Facebook.
You can be a good influence as you support health and relief organizations in your community or the nation. Be an example, share your talents and skills, and make a difference for good. You’ll provide valuable service and feel better, too, for having helped!