How to help

Between the multiple hurricanes and the Las Vegas shooting, it’s been a horrific few weeks. It’s hard to know how to absorb so much tragedy and loss of life. I constantly admire how quickly people step up to help—it’s the bright spot, always, and makes me feel hopeful when there doesn’t seem to be much hope around. So in that spirit, I thought I’d share a few links.

As people in a few of these articles say, giving cash is better than giving things. Cash doesn’t need to be transported, housed, or refrigerated, and it frees up these organizations to use the donation however it’s needed most.

Also, there are inevitable scam organizations that crop up after these sorts of events. Charity Navigator is one way to check whether a charity is legit or to see how much money it spends on staffing and overhead vs. how much it actually spends on the people it’s helping. (Side note: Charity Navigator is itself a charity and accepts donations as well.)

I’ve previously given to the Red Cross (which, incidentally, said as of yesterday that it had enough blood supply to help in Vegas, but if you’d like to help keep them stocked, here’s how to find a blood drive in your area), Austin Pets Alive, and various food banks, but there are a number of other options.

Another caveat: Right now the focus is on Las Vegas, which is completely understandable. But please don’t forget about the hurricane victims. As a resident of New Jersey, I can tell you that there are still people unable to live in their Superstorm Sandy-damaged homes five years later. Hurricane recovery takes a long time.

The kidlit community has stepped up again with PubforPR, an auction to raise funds for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico; you can bid on everything from signed books to critiques from editors and agents.

Otherwise, this is a good summation of things you can do for Las Vegas:

http://abc7chicago.com/how-to-help-las-vegas/2479000/

And this offers a good list of charities for Hurricane Harvey and Irma victims:

https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/how-to-help-donate-to-assist-hurricane-harvey-irma-victims/70002574

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) is an association of organizations that’s been helping communities affected by disaster since 1970. They’re currently helping victims of Hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Harvey: https://www.nvoad.org/howtohelp/

Be well and be safe, everyone.

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