Imagine sitting at work and your phone buzzes. Twitter announces a devastating volcanic explosion, earthquake, tsunami, tornado, etc. Notification after notification flashes the latest update on the disaster: how many left homeless, how many casualties… Such calamities should stir an active response. Ever wondered how you can help with natural disaster relief and recovery arrangements? Here are a few pointers:
1. Do Not Respond Alone for Disaster Relief
If a local disaster strikes, you might feel compelled to rush over to the scene and help. Rushing to the disaster zone will only add to the chaos and put yourself in danger. There are better and safer ways to make your presence count.
2. Contact a Disaster Relief Organization
If you want to help on-site with disaster relief, contact an established volunteer organization to get started. See what opportunities they have available and register online.
For a complete list of volunteer organizations, check out the National Members of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
If a disaster strikes close to home, you can dial 211 to discover local volunteer opportunities. This is also an excellent resource for helping in the weeks after a local disaster.
3. Wait for a Response
Be patient when waiting for a disaster relief organization to get back to you.
Sometimes it takes a while. Just think about all the people and resources they have to manage, especially if the trauma just happened. Managing disaster relief is no easy task, and they probably have their hands full bringing order to the chaos.
The organization will get back to you. Just don’t lose your spark to aid the cause while you wait.
4. Wear Proper Safety Gear
Once on the field, make sure you wear the proper safety gear. This may include a hard hat, goggles, and gloves. Perhaps your organization wears a bright team shirt to help others see you and for team leaders to quickly identify their volunteers.
Make sure to follow the organization’s safety procedures when on the field to keep yourself and everyone else safe.
5. Other Ways to Help with Disaster Relief
If you’re unable to visit the disaster zone, you can still send aid. Here’s how:
- Donate money to a disaster relief organization
- Raise awareness online
- Crowdfund a social media campaign
- Hold a local food or clothing drive
- Give blood
Don’t think your service or donation is too small to make an impact. Consider the widow’s offering in Luke 21:1-4:
“As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’”
Each should give and serve within their capacity. When it comes to disaster relief, any help counts. Your efforts could change a victim’s life for the better.