As Florence continued its slow, perilous plod across the Carolinas – dumping torrents of rain that could lead to days of devastating floods – charities and aid groups are kicking into high gear.
Here is a list of some of the groups responding to the disaster and ways you can help:
The American Red Cross is providing food and shelter to evacuees in multiple states. The group has mobilized 140 emergency response vehicles and more than 120 trailers of equipment and supplies. More than 150 blood drives in the storm's path have been canceled through early next week, so the Red Cross is appealing for people to also donate blood.
United Way Worldwide has created a Hurricane Florence Recovery Fund to provide a single clearinghouse for individual and corporate donors to support communities in the storm's path. United Way also offers a free 24/7 hotline – 211 – for people seeking shelter, food and water and other basic needs before, during and after the storm. Florence updates are also available by texting FLORENCE to 898-211.
Savannah Responds is collecting donations to take to the Carolinas. Collection efforts begin today, Sept. 17, and they plan to announce a drop off location on their Facebook page. The page includes a list of items that would be useful for recovery and damage clean-up.
"One Carolina" - All proceeds from the sale of "One Carolina" t-shirts and decals will go towards Hurricane Florence relief.
World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, has staff on the ground in the Carolinas and has shipped six truckloads of relief supplies to be delivered through local church and community partners to reach at least 9,000 people. The supplies include food, clean water, personal hygiene items, diapers and flood cleanup kits.
Americares, a global health organization, is partnering with health clinics in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia to deliver emergency medicines and relief supplies, including aid for displaced families.
Samaritan's Purse, an evangelical Christian humanitarian aid group, is deploying teams of staff and volunteers in two hard-hit areas in North Carolina – New Bern and Wilmington – to help homeowners with cleanup, such as tarping roofs and clearing yards of debris.
The Salvation Army has more than 50 mobile feeding units positioned along the coast of the Carolinas. The group is sending food to evacuation shelters as well as feeding first responders.
Save the Children, an international children's agency, has a team on the ground in North Carolina that will focus on the needs of young people during and after the storm such as setting up child-friendly spaces in evacuation shelters.
Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian organization, is working with Team Rubicon – a U.S.-based group that unites military veterans and first responders – to assess the most pressing needs in the Carolinas. Mercy Corps anticipates providing cash assistance to the most hard-hit communities so people can purchase what they need for recovery.
The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, a safety-net group that provides medical, dental and pharmacy services, is helping people access health care, medications and supplies during the disaster. Fifteen clinics in North Carolina and 14 in South Carolina were in the path of the storm, the group says.
The Humane Society of the United States is helping animals escape the storm. Working with partners, the group says it has helped more than 400 adoptable cats and dogs get out of shelters in Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The animal rescue team is also ready to deploy for search and rescues in hard-hit areas.
Michael Jordan, the Charlotte Hornets and the NBA have teamed up to help raise money for a number of local organizations providing relief efforts including the American Red Cross, Direct Relief, Foundation for the Carolinas, Second Harvest Food Bank and the United Way of Central Carolinas.”
Charity Navigator, an independent watchdog that appraises charities based on their tax filings, lists these groups responding to Florence that hold a three- or four-star rating. You can find the list here. The group advises people to research relief organizations before making a donation.
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Don’t be shy about a donation that feels paltry: “even just a little bit goes to help people’s needs and aid in recovery.”