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Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall on the Southeast Coast of the United States in the coming days. Although it’s path is, as yet, not fully determined, Florence is currently projected to hit the Carolinas, Virginia and Maryland especially hard. Record winds are expected to cause widespread property damage. Epic rainfall amounts of up to forty inches are expected to cause massive inland flooding. At the time of writing, millions are under mandatory evacuation orders.
Those residents who are currently evacuating will need assistance in the short-term. Their journey is likely to be congested, stressful, and full of unanticipated expenses. They may need items urgently. Things like food, fuel, and lodging become critical.
Those who evacuate, may forget key items. For this reason, sending gift cards to box stores allows for families to purchase supplies left behind in haste. These can include necessary drugstore supplies, clothing, and more.
Says Give InKind founder Laura Malcolm:
“It is easy to feel helpless in an emergency. But there is always something to be done to provide support, even when we are far away. We want to empower anyone to help, from anywhere.”
Give InKind spoke with Lori Mullins Ennis, a coastal resident who is a veteran of many hurricanes. She underscores the immense power of community.
“Community assistance is imperative. The aftermath on coastal communities is often worse than the hurricane itself. The world sort of moves on as the storm moves away … but flooding is such a big issue for days and weeks after. People are just desperate to get back to their homes and salvage what they can. Giving and service make such a difference.”
Evacuees in temporary housing may have need of shelter. Depending upon the state of their homes, they may be more comfortable in hotels. Underwriting the cost of staying in a hotel is a generous gift, indeed.
Pet care offers specials challenges as well and providing assistance in this regard is invaluable. (Certain chain stores, such as Petco, may offer boarding in some regions).
Gift certificates to restaurants are also useful for families on the move.
Keep in mind that many gift cards can be digitally scanned and are therefore useful on the road.
Above all, stay in touch. Depending upon the power grid and wireless networks, service may be spotty. Still, efforts to stay in touch are a great gift to those in need of temporary assistance. Reaching out can lift people up and out of the frustration and devastation these storms so often deliver.