It’s impossible to miss the disastrous slew of hurricanes from the news. The devastating effects of Irma, Harvey and incoming Jose have shocked the Atlantic region, prompting many to ask the question, how can I help? For teenagers, the question largely seems unanswerable, as on-the-ground response methods realistically aren’t accessible to most high schoolers. But, there are still multiple ways you can help.
Organize a Fundraiser
Fundraisers can occur at any number of places, from your local church to your school. Though initially this option may seem intimidating, sites like Fundly make this route significantly easier and less daunting than you’d imagine. However, before moving forward, there are a few things you should note.
1. Fundraisers require a good amount of work.
They need to be advertised, organized, and researched beforehand. This is necessary both to their success and legitimacy. Also, fundraisers don’t happen overnight. If you want to help now, you need to start organizing now. That can mean creating a Facebook post asking for help, or contacting those close to you for additional ideas.
2. Promote Relief Campaigns
Even if you can’t personally fund donating, promoting certifiable campaigns on social media and in person can make a large impact. GoFundMe has created a page custom-built for disaster relief options, which features charities working towards rebuilding homes, rescuing animals, providing food and more. Click Here to Donate
3. Give Blood
Though this option is only available to those above the age of 16 (with parental consent), particularly in Houston, blood shortages are great and far-reaching. Due to the lack of accessible donors, hospitals are struggling to treat patients in areas affected by the hurricane. If you’re interested, text “DONATE4LIFE” to 444999, or call 800-366-2834.
4. Organize a Food Drive
Charities are like Metropolitan Ministries and Feed Tampa Bay are collecting donations of bottled water and nonperishable foods to help those still unable to return home. While this is a viable and obviously helpful option, it’s important to note that monetary gifts are much more useful and valuable for disaster relief. But nonetheless, if this form of donation speaks to you, by all means, move on ahead.
5. Online Shop
Shopping with Amazon Smile gives .5% of your purchase to a charity of your choice. This option is great for those who want to donate, but don’t have the funds to do so. The purchase you make is identical to a typical one in terms of pricing, but gives a percent to a disaster relief charity.
6. Donate, Donate, Donate
Of all the viable options, this is undeniably the most impactful and important. Hundreds of charities within Houston, Florida, the Caribbean and more are in desperate need of assistance, with truthfully, is best served through monetary donations. But, like any mature decision, there are things you should know before donating to any organization.
ProPublica’s article on gives great advice for doing so, but here’s a basic summary:
-Do independent research before giving money to any group
-Local groups with deep community ties are often the best option
If you’re still a bit stuck on which organization to choose, Charity Navigator reviews and gives great advice on both widely known and “indie” organizations.