Hurricane Florence has been the monster storm it was predicted to be. While the category lessened and the wind speeds slowed down as it approached our Carolina coastline, the dangers just increased. As predicted, this relentless storm slowed down and stalled over several North Carolina communities, which only increased the amount of rain dropped on those areas. What did this mean? It meant major flooding. Several towns up and down the coast of both North and South Carolina and some areas inland have suffered major flood damage. And now, our neighbors need a helping hand. Thankfully there are many organizations already on the ground, sleeves rolled up, and pitching in, as we Southerners always do in a crisis. If you've been sitting at home and watching the storm coverage as we have been and you want to help, we’ve selected and vetted several groups that could greatly use your donations.
Team Rubicon is a veteran-led organization that shows up when their fellow Americans need help. This group of mostly veterans head to disaster zones to help people with the aftermath of these events. They are already in the Carolinas and are getting to work on clearing debris and cleaning out damaged homes. To donate to Team Rubicon, click here.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is always one of the first groups on the ground. They arrive as soon as the area is cleared for relief groups to enter and provide physical, emotional, and spiritual care to survivors and first responders. As early as Friday evening, they were serving meals to those in need in the areas they could get to and will continue as it becomes safer to reach more people. You can help the SA offer comfort by donating here.
The Red Cross
The Red Cross arrives in areas threatened by storms before the weather even hits. They bring food, water, and cots to set up temporary shelters for those forced to leave their homes. More than 1500 disaster relief workers arrived in North and South Carolina earlier this week. This deployment includes 80 rescue vehicles and 120 trailers of supplies. You can help their efforts by making a donation, but you can also help by donating blood. Several blood drives in the Carolinas had to be cancelled due to the storms. If necessary, the Red Cross will have to rely on blood donations from other states and your donation could help those in need.
Stan Hays and his crew of BBQ pit masters show up in disaster zones to help in one of the most Southern ways we could think of—they feed people. When it’s safe to do so, Operation BBQ sets up shop and cooks hearty, warm meals for first responders and big batch meals to be delivered to shelters. They provide comfort to those brave heroes out helping their neighbors. They’ve set up shop in Charlotte as staging area and will move into the affected towns as soon as it’s safe to do so. You can help feed the helpers by donating to Operation BBQ.
The Louisiana Cajun Navy
As we saw during Hurricane Harvey, the Cajun Navyis a hearty bunch of volunteers who show up with their boats and answer the call to perform water rescues. This crew formed after the devastating floods in Baton Rouge in 2016. And after they came to the rescue of their Texas neighbors in 2017, other chapters of Cajun Navy rescuers have formed. They’ve all shown up in the Carolinas this week. They were in place early and able to get out and start rescuing people in New Bern, N.C. as early as Friday morning. These folks are all volunteer and could definitely use help in paying for gas, boat upkeep, and trucks to haul their boats to the next disaster. You can donate to the Louisiana Cajun Navy, or the American Cajun Navy.
Teams of volunteers stand at the ready to enter the disaster zones once it’s safe to do so and will be helping people clean up their homes and get back on their feet. Their president, Franklin Graham said in a video message to look for the helpers in the orange shirts. You can help their mission by volunteering or donating here.
The Humane Society
As we all know, it’s not just the humans who are at risk from these massive storms. Pets are often left behind when families have to flee in a hurry. And animal shelters are not immune to flooding. The Humane Society of the United States started moving shelter animals out of the storm’s path before the weather hit and they are going back into the disaster zone to help rescue more animals. You can help their efforts here.