How to Help When You Feel Helpless During a Crisis
When a crisis is occurring and we are far away from it, we can feel either helpless or indifferent. When something doesn’t impact us personally, it’s easy to turn a blind eye. But as our world becomes more and more connected, it’s more and more important to do what we can to help our fellow humans.
Over this past weekend, Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 hurricane, made landfall in Texas. So far, there have been 26 inches of rain, with more to come by the end of the week. Estimates are that there will be 50 inches of rain in total. This, in addition to the 130mph winds, has and will cause incredible damage. Below are ways that you can help the people impacted by the hurricane.
But as our world becomes more and more connected, it’s more and more important to do what we can to help our fellow humans.
Donate money, supplies, or blood
There are so many important, amazing organizations that are on the ground during times of need. There are large, national organizations like the American Red Cross. And then there are local organizations that also need your donations. So check out the list below for organizations to support during this difficult time. If you can’t donate cash, you can also give blood and supplies.
There’s also the option of donating to the GoFundMe pages of those directly impacted.
Spread the word
Maybe you don’t have much money to spare. Maybe you’re unable to donate blood. That’s okay! You can still contribute by using your voice. Do you have friends or family in the affected area? Let them know who to call for help, or where to turn for support of any kind. No loved ones in the area? Let your friends know where they can donate and which organizations to support. Just because we are far away doesn’t mean we can’t help.
Open your home (and church)
I read yesterday that Airbnb has created a platform where hosts can rent out their space for free, and people from Houston can sign up if they need place to stay. Airbnb is also waiving service fees for those affected by the hurricane and checking in between August 23rd and September 1st. This is such a fantastic idea, as many people are unable to leave their homes due to financial limitations. If you rent out space on Airbnb, and you aren’t far from Houston, I highly recommend that you offer up that space to people fleeing the hurricane. And remember this option in the future when other disasters inevitably happen.
Advocate for better disaster preparedness
There’s no doubt: climate change is real, and we’ve caused it. As time goes on, the effects of climate change are going to get worse and worse. Intense storms are one of those consequences, as warmer weather leads to stronger storms. At this point, a lot of the longterm effects are unavoidable, but there are still ways that we can mitigate or proactively adapt to climate change.
So push your city officials to consider climate change and flooding when it’s doing urban planning. Call your representatives and encourage them to implement federal, state, and local plans that address climate change and lower emissions. Advocate for the switch to clean energy sources like solar and wind power. And while you’re at it, do your part everyday too!
One more thing: I’m no expert on flood insurance, but it seems like the current system isn’t working. In addition, a new law in Texas reduces the penalty fees that insurance companies face for late payments if the policyholder files a lawsuit. This law is set to go into effect this Friday, September 1st, so claimants are encouraged to file any losses before then. Consider educating yourself on the flood insurance program, and advocating for reform that will make it solvent and more helpful to homeowners.
Do you have other recommendations for how to help during times of crisis? Share in the comments!