As Americans young and old struggle to understand the horror of last week's unprecedented terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, many have also been asking one question: What can I do to help?
Across the country, students of all ages from second graders to those in college are raising relief money through bake sales and car washes. Those who are old enough are also giving blood and volunteering with the Red Cross and other charities.
So many people have donated supplies and food to rescue workers in New York and Washington, D.C., that no more of those items are needed at the moment.
You can still donate money, give blood or volunteer your time, however. Information on how to help is listed below.
Meanwhile, you can also help by listening to what leaders from President Bush on down are saying: Please do not attack, harass or otherwise harm Americans who happen to be Muslims or of Middle Eastern descent.
Bias attacks including attacks on mosques and even murders have reportedly occurred across the country in the last few days.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has set up a hot line where people can report bias incidents the number is 800-552-6843.
TO VOLUNTEER AND DONATE RESOURCES:
- The United Way and The New York Community Trust have established The September 11 Fund in response to the attacks on September 11, 2001. Contributions will be used to help respond to the immediate and longer-term needs of the victims, their families, and communities affected by the events of September 11. 100% of contributions will be used to support these efforts and The United Way and The New York Community Trust are underwriting all administrative costs.
- The MTV store has begun collecting donations for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. The official times during which people can drop off cash or a check: Monday 9/17, Tuesday 9/18, Thursday 9/20 - 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Wednesday 9/19, Friday 9/21 - 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
- The Red Cross is looking for help from experienced medical and mental health professionals in the coming days, as well as other volunteers. To sign up for disaster training, contact your local chapter (via the white pages or www.redcross.org).
- Call 800-HELP-NOW (800-435-7669) to make financial contributions to the Red Cross.
- Call 518-431-7600 for the Health Care Association of New York State (www.hanys.org ), which is in need of specialists in search and rescue and mortuary/forensic/pathology services.
- Call 518-431-7600 for the Health Care Association of New York State (www.hanys.org), which is in need of specialists in search and rescue and mortuary/forensic/pathology services.
- Online retailer Amazon.com (www.amazon.com) and search engine Yahoo (www.yahoo.com) are also accepting monetary donations for the American Red Cross.
- Helping.org allows our users to both make donations and volunteer all over the country.
- United Jewish Communities, the national organization representing all the Jewish Federations in North America, has opened an emergency fund, the proceeds of which will be used to ameliorate the suffering of the survivors of the September 11 attacks. You can donate at www.ujc.org.
TO DONATE BLOOD:
- You can give blood by calling the Red Cross at 800-GIVELIFE and setting up an appointment near you. Given the flood of people already donating, it may be a while before your turn comes around. To become a donor, you must be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds. If you have recently been tattooed or had body piercings you will most likely not be able to give blood.
TO CHECK ON FAMILY MEMBERS/LOVED ONES:
- Call 800-331-0075 for the U.S. Justice Department's
(www.usdoj.gov)Family Assistance Center Victims Hotline.
- If you believe you have a family member who was aboard American Airlines Flight 11, American Airlines Flight 77, United Airlines Flight 93, or United Airlines Flight 175: Contact American at 800-245-0999 or www.americanairlines.com. Contact United at 800-932-8555.
- accesshelp.org a national, non-profit helping the families and friends of those who have been affected or involved in air crash. The toll-free # is: 877-227-6435.
- 800-FYI-CALL (ncvc.org) National Center for Victims of Crime is a nonprofit helpline that provides counsel and information to victims of terrorism and other crimes.
For information from the American Psychological Association on how to deal with the aftermath, check out helping.apa.org.