One of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the United States made landfall Wednesday in Florida. The catastrophic storm flooded streets, destroying businesses and homes with many trapped inside. Nearly 2.7 million people were left without power as waters rose from the heavy rainfalls.
“To say it’s devastation would be a severe understatement, just watching people’s belongings and homes and things float by—it was a very tough scene to witness,” Dan Allers, a council member in Fort Myers Beach, told the BBC.
Florida is expected to face substantial economic losses from the hurricane, but the total cost of the damage to the state is as of yet unclear.
“We’ve never seen storm surge of this magnitude,” Florida governor Ron DeSantis said in a news conference Thursday. “The amount of water that’s been rising, and will likely continue to rise today even as the storm is passing, is basically a 500-year flooding event.”
President Joe Biden issued a disaster declaration Thursday. Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said the agency is supporting search and rescue efforts for those who didn’t evacuate ahead of the storm.
Helicopter and boat rescue efforts have been employed to reach people stranded by the floodwaters. Authorities in Florida confirmed at least one person has died in the storm in the U.S., and two people died in Cuba.
If you would like to help the people affected by the hurricane in Florida, here are some of the organizations you can donate to.
GoFundMe created a list of fundraisers dedicated to helping the individuals and families impacted by Hurricane Ian. The fundraisers included have been verified by their Trust and Safety experts.
American Red Cross
The Red Cross works to provide shelter to those impacted by Hurricane Ian. Currently, 730 trained disaster workers are supporting relief efforts, with hundreds more on the way. Before the storm hit, they provided 83 truckloads of cots, blankets, and comfort kits, along with enough relief supplies to help 60,000 people. Donations can be made online or by texting ‘IAN’ to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
This organization is responding to Hurricane Ian and has an on-the-ground emergency response team ready to support those impacted. Donations go towards providing supplies to those in need such as medication, diapers, feminine hygiene products, bottled water, and meals.
Save the Children
The charity works to provide youth-focused aid in the aftermath of disaster. When you donate, 85% of the amount funded goes directly toward helping children in need, according to their website.
Florida Disaster Fund
The State of Florida’s official private fund was established to assist Florida communities during disasters, like Hurricane Ian. Donations will go towards Volunteer Florida, which is the state’s lead agency for coordinating volunteers and donations for Florida communities. If you don’t want to donate online, you can also text ‘DISASTER’ to 20222.
Feeding South Florida
The non-profit organization is the largest food bank servicing Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties. Currently, workers are deploying food and water to areas impacted by Hurricane Ian. Over 98% of the donations go towards providing food to children and older adults in the Southern Florida area, according to their website.
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation is working alongside United Way to support other non-profits helping those impacted by Hurricane Ian.
Community Foundation of Sarasota County
The Foundation is accepting donations to its Suncoast Disaster Recovery Fund in partnership with other foundations in Florida to support recovery efforts in the Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto, and Charlotte counties.
This grassroots organization works to provide disaster relief and recovery to under-resourced communities.
Global Empowerment Mission (GEM)
GEM is an organization based in Miami providing on-the-ground hurricane disaster relief and accept monetary donations, canned goods, toiletries, and more. They are also looking for volunteers who can help pack supplies.
With a long history of responding to emergencies in Florida, the group is again working to deliver medicine, medical supplies, and emergency support to those impacted by Hurricane Ian. This is made possible through donations to their relief efforts.
All Hands and Hearts
This volunteer-led organization builds safe and resilient schools, homes, and other infrastructure. They are on the ground supporting the needs for chainsaw work, mucking and gutting, and tarping roofs to prevent further leaks.
Avoid donation scams
Unfortunately, for every person who wants to do good, there may be another who uses a disaster like Hurricane Ian to scam good Samaritans. Research organizations prior to donating, especially if you are unfamiliar with their work.
The IRS website created a search feature to check an organization’s ability to accept tax-deductible charitable donations, as well as information about their tax-exempt status and filings. And websites like the Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator, and GuideStar allow users to search for organizations to avoid falling victim to a donation scam.
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