Folks from all over are coming together to help coastal communities recover now that Hurricane Matthew has passed. The damage caused by the storm is still being assessed, but relief efforts have been dispatched across several states. While the death toll is relatively low, the devastation of the affected regions has been catastrophic for many.
Below are ways you can reach out for support or offer assistance to those in need.
If You Need Help
Call the United Way’s nationwide hotline at 211 to be directed toward disaster relief in your area.
Disasterassistance.gov can connect you to services like FEMA, which can help with temporary shelter and recovery for homes and property lost due to the hurricane. The site and any necessary forms are also available in Spanish.
The IRS offers tax relief for people affected by natural disasters to ease the financial burden of rebuilding. This means that the loss of property can be counted as a deduction on your tax return. For folks affected by the hurricane in North Carolina, at least, tax deadlines for October have been extended until March 15, 2017. Information about tax relief after disasters is available at the IRS website. Contact a reputable tax consultant to help navigate the process.
Help the Coast to Recover
Save the Children is mobilizing efforts to help children affected by the storm in both the U.S. and Haiti. You can go to their website to make a donation to sponsor their work in either country.
Americares provides much-needed medical supplies to places around the world after natural disasters strike. They are helping with medical relief along the east coast right now. Donations will pay for those supplies as well as transporting them to where they are needed most.
The best way to support the Red Cross is by donating blood and platelets. Check in for specific calls for donations, as certain blood types may be needed more than others.
After natural disasters, our four-legged friends need help too. The Humane Society is working to take in displaced animals, address their medical needs, and reunite them with owners or find them new homes. You can make a donation to help their work from Florida to North Carolina.
Volunteer Florida has partnered with a long list of organizations to respond to local needs. Follow their advice by donating to the Florida Relief Fund, seeing what is needed specifically, and connecting with established volunteer organizations if you want to lend a hand.
In the wake of the hurricane, kids need things like toiletries, school supplies, and clothes, which can be mailed to or dropped off with Communities in Schools of Savannah. Monetary donations will also help this relief effort and go toward continuing the organization’s work for schoolchildren throughout the year.
Help South Carolina
ONE SC Fund, in conjunction with the South Carolina Governor’s Office, is taking donations to help with the state-funded response.
Help North Carolina
Giving to North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund is a great way to make sure monetary donations will go to the places that need it most.
The outpouring of support in the wake of Hurricane Matthew has been impressive, but more is still needed in all of these states. Always make sure you are giving to reputable causes, and if you want to go volunteer, do not just go on your own. Make sure you have the training that is needed, and go with an established organization. Resources are scarce even for volunteers, and some of these areas can remain dangerous for weeks.
Give how you can as you can, and stay safe out there in the places where Hurricane Matthew passed.