The Southern United States has had a rough couple of weeks. First, Houston and the surrounding Texas area was hit by Hurricane Harvey in late August, and just recently, Southern Florida was hammered by Hurricane Irma. Both of these hurricanes have caused tremendous damage in their respective territories, leaving millions without power, shelter, clothing and other basic necessities. It is at times such as these that we must all band together and overcome the obstacles that Mother Nature has put in our way. Here are a few ways to help out our fellow Americans:
Regardless of which state you feel needs more assistance, the first organizations that you should be looking to donate to are local ones. These are the organizations that are located in and around the Texas and Florida areas. For Houston, some of these organizations include the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, the Food Bank of Corpus Christi and the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center; for Florida you can donate to Volunteer Florida. You can even donate to several GoFundMe campaigns online.
If you do not feel comfortable donating to local charities or GoFundMe pages, and would prefer to donate to organizations that are more well-known, then feel free to donate to the Red Cross or UNICEF.
There are other ways to donate than monetary donations. You could give blood to a blood bank to help victims who have been seriously injured by the hurricanes; you can also send food and clothing to local organizations to help those who have been displaced from their homes and have no food.
Probably the most noble way to give to the relief effort is through volunteerism. Admittedly, this is a method that is typically only viable for those who live near Florida or Texas, however, if you can travel to these areas and volunteer your time and efforts, that would be greatly appreciated. Volunteer for food banks, shelters or search and rescues. These two states are going to need all of the help they can get. And if you feel so inclined as to travel from a far away state (or even country) and physically help those who are suffering, that is even more noble and is a testament to the compassion of humanity.
I feel that I should mention the dangers of not only physically volunteering, but donating online as well. In the recent weeks since Hurricane Harvey, there have been multiple online hackers posing as charities and volunteer organizations and stealing money from those who truly seeking to help in the relief efforts. Make sure that you do not become a victim yourself. Before donating online, check to ensure that you are in fact donating to a legitimate organization. Websites such as CharityWatch.org can help you to verify an organization’s legitimacy.
Whenever we get caught up in the troubles and turmoil of human society, every now and then, Mother Nature reminds us that we are only guests on this vast and powerful planet, and that we must come together to help one another. In order to persevere, we must come to the aid of our brothers and sisters in their darkest hours. We here at the Opes Group are saddened by the sheer destruction that both Harvey and Irma have caused, and not just in the United States, but in the Caribbean islands as well. Our hearts and thoughts go out to those who are suffering, and we will certainly do our part to help; we hope you will too.