Fall means hurricane season. United States coastal communities along the eastern seaboard, the Gulf Coast and beyond brace for the probability of ferocious seasonal hurricanes. For residents living in at-risk of absorbing a direct hit, evacuation plans are standard. The annual preparedness drills require that residents find and bundle the bare and absolute necessities — passports, social security cards, and more.
But the vast majority of their belongings must be left behind.
For family and friends at a loss for what to do, there are ways to anticipate needs and to respond effectively.
Says Give InKind founder Laura Malcolm:
“It is easy to feel helpless in an emergency. But there is always something that can be done to provide support, even when we are far away. We want to empower anyone to help, from anywhere."
If you are concerned about a family impacted by a hurricane or severe storm, here are specific ways in which you can be helpful.
- Begin by contacting (by text or social media group chats) friends and family. Do this now, and offer to relay information to other loved ones. Ask specifically whether they know where they are going. Some may be able to stay with a friend or a family member. If they have a temporary physical address, make sure to note it. After the storm has subsided check to see whether deliveries in this area have been impacted.
- For people who are not sure where they will be located, you can still provide them with some necessary items with the help of digital gift cards. Some people may need assistance with hotels, restaurants, and items for children.
- Ask them to notify you of anything they need and notify others wanting to help of what is most needed.
Know that families facing mandatory evacuation will be safe. However, they will face some logistical challenges in the short term. This is where friends and family can be the most responsive and helpful. Car travel will likely involve extensive delays in heavy traffic. Hotels and shelters may be fully booked. Cash machines may not be operational.
Needs change after an evacuation has been lifted and people can return to their homes, so check in with your loved one to see how you can help.
If you or someone you know needs support after the loss of their home or being displaced due to a natural disaster, see how to create a Give InKind page for them here.
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