Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida’s panhandle on October 10 and left devastation in its wake. It has been called the strongest storm to hit the country since 1969. States have sent help to the ravaged area, and private citizens are looking for ways to help as the local government implores citizens to stay away from heavily affected areas, especially Mexico Beach.
As is the case after any national tragedy, charities seemingly pop up out of the woodwork, claiming to be ready to offer relief. It can be difficult to decide where to send your money or donations. As Pensacola personal injury lawyers, we know not all charity organizations are equal. If you want to help those impacted by Hurricane Michael, here are ways you can safely do so.
The American Red Cross deploys volunteers from around the country to help those impacted by disaster. The organization concentrates specifically on those who have been forced to evacuate or have lost their homes. They were prepared to provide support to Georgia, Alabama and Florida prior to the storm, when it was expected that as many as 30,000 people would be heading to evacuation centers.
The Red Cross is accepting donations online, over the phone and via text. Those who want to donate can call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make an automatic $10 donation (which will appear on your next phone bill). The organization is also asking anyone who can to give blood at their local agency to do that. When hurricanes strike, blood drives are often canceled, which can cause shortages in the area that need blood the most.
This a humanitarian organization that is focused on health. A team was set to be deployed as soon as it was clear that the hurricane was going to strike. Every $1 donated is equal to $20 in aid for victims of disaster.
If you are interested in donation to the organization, you can do so online. Donors are given the option of sending money via a credit card or PayPal.
This is a crowdfunding organization that has raised nearly $75,000 for hurricane relief. According to the non-profit’s website, donations will go to provide for immediate needs of those affected. These needs may include fuel, clean water, hygiene items, food, and shelter.
Once the organization uses donations to provide for the immediate needs of victims, the organization will turn its efforts to responding to the long-term impact of Michael. You can donate to GlobalGiving online.
The group will be deploying a response team to the area hit hardest by Michael. They will be providing aid in ways that victims will most benefit. If you would like to donate, you can do so online using a credit/debit card of PayPal.
The group’s ultimate goal is to provide food to the hungry, medical care, shelter, clothing, and humanitarian supplies to those in need. The organization is an international one that assists victims of disaster on a local, regional, national and global level.
Photos of Mexico Beach look like something out of a movie. Homes and hotels once stood proud in the town of 1,200. Now what pictures show are rubble and streets that are barely recognizable. Structures that made it through the storm surge are the exception. CNN reports that food is in short supply and relief organizations are setting up feeding stations. Police are being forced to guard supplies as they arrive from out of town to help those choose to stay and those who are helping with relief.
Over and over, residents have said that they didn’t think the storm was going to be as bad as it was. They had ridden out storms in the past, pointing out that many times forecasted storms were downgraded by the time they hit land. Michael was a different story, turning into a Category 4 storm in the middle of the night, just prior to making landfall. 150 mph winds and a storm surge meant total devastation to the beautiful oceanside town.
It is now estimated that restoring Mexico Beach to what it once was could take years. Home and business owners will have to make insurance claims, clear their properties, and rebuild. Businesses will need to do the same. For now, residents are being asked to stay away. Downed lines, torn gas pipes, and a debris field that stretches for miles makes the area a hazardous one. Responders say that any additional people will just be in the way.
As Pensacola personal injury lawyers, we have friends and family affected by Michael and understand the utter devastation people are feeling. Your first instinct may be to donate to any charity that says it is providing relief, but we strongly suggest that you research any group you are thinking of sending money to. Unfortunately, disasters like Michael can bring out the worst in people, and you could be sending your hard-earned money to a thief. Charity Navigator is a great resource for finding out which organizations are legitimate.
If you have been injured due to someone’s negligence or error during or after Hurricane Michael, you need an experienced attorney. Reach out to our experienced Pensacola personal injury lawyers today. You deserve nothing less than an attorney who is willing to dedicate themselves to your case and fight for the justice you deserve.