Crisis brings out the goodness in everyone. During such difficult times, people across the country have a reflex reaction of offering a helping hand to those affected by disasters. We have seen this positive quality of Canadians for so many times in various disasters that have struck the country, as well as other countries.
However, your good-hearted intentions might not get to where they are supposed to. Scammers have cropped up quite recently and they are lurking around, trying to take advantage of your generosity. Here are a few considerations on how you can make your donation during disasters felt by those who really need help.
G.I.V.E during disasters (Goods, Income, Volunteer, Expertise)
Goods, such as clothing, household goods, foods, etc. are the most common forms of donations, especially in a local disaster. Relief goods are more useful in local disasters where the products can get to the recipients immediately. However, in large-scale incidents or disasters occurring in far places, tangible items may not be the best option. This is because physical donations require a long process (sorting, storage, shipping, distribution, etc.) before they actually get to the hands of the victims. In most cases, the amount of time and costs of sending an old pair of jeans is costlier than buying a new pair.
If you donate physical goods, make sure that you send them through reputable local organizations, such as the workplace approved.
During disaster relief, cash is always the best way to help. When you donate cash, relief organizations can allocate the amount for the needs with the highest priority in a particular disaster. The money you send can be used for a variety of aid including food, water, shelter, medicine. It is not limited to certain goods thus can be used for more urgent priorities.
However, when donating cash, you should be vigilant against scammers trying to rip off generous donors. Make sure you donate to a recognized relief or charity organization. St Mark James is one of the most recognized groups that offer disaster relief. There are other private, nongovernment organizations that also run disaster relief operations.
Helping others in time of difficulties is one of the highest civic duties of every citizen. You can offer help to your neighbors in times of local disasters. When volunteering, do not rush to the scene of disaster to avoid cluttering the place. Coordinate with the local emergency response team. Depending on your training and skills, the team leader may call you up or assign something for you to do. For example, those who have completed first aid training courses may be assigned to help provide immediate first aid treatment to victims.
For most people, the idea of volunteering involves people in active work such as cleaning up debris, making sandbags to protect against flood, providing first aid, and other physical tasks. However, volunteerism must not stop there. After a disaster, victims would have a wide range of needs. In fact, the post-disaster recovery phase requires more help. The victims would need assistance in a lot of things such as taxes, unemployment issues, insurance, grant application, and many more. People who are experts in such fields are highly encouraged to volunteer their expertise.
Finally, one simple but excellent way for you to help is to make your family secure and safe by coming up with a disaster preparedness plan. This will reduce possible injuries, and also free up emergency responders that would otherwise assist you.