Our family has watched the daily news coverage of the devastation caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. We are all amazed by the force of wind and water and how quickly conditions can change.
It was very interesting to watch Olivia, our 8-year-old, react to seeing people lose their homes and all their worldly possessions. This is the first natural disaster she has witnessed with the understanding that her house is safe, her bed is dry and her baby doll Sammy is still at her side. After a few of the heart-breaking pictures she asked what she could do to help. I said that ‘mommy and daddy would give some money to help the people that lost their homes’. The next day more stories on the news and another opportunity to donate. Olivia again asked to donate and I said that we would. After more discussion, I realized that she wanted to do more. She wanted to give what she had. Her heart was pouring out and knowing that mom and dad would give was not getting the job done. Then I had an idea…
Our neighbors have a huge oak tree and it drops an insane number of acorns that pile up in our yard. I was starting to clean up the acorns and told Oliva if she would help me then I would pay her and she could donate some of the money she earned to hurricane relief. She worked alongside me for about 90 minutes and we talked a lot and worked even harder. When we were done I said that she earned $10 and gave her 10 one-dollar bills. I was thinking and hoping she would give the majority while maybe keeping some for herself. She turned around and handed all $10 right back to me and said she wanted to give it ALL because the people without a home needed it more than she did. I was so incredibility proud and she was so excited. She actively participated in the process. This reminded me that the best gifts cost something. If I give $100 or $100,000 it did not really matter to Olivia because it did not cost her anything. She worked hard and then gave it all away. It cost her something and she did it with a joyful heart. I was blessed to spend 90 precious minutes with my 8-year-old little girl and see her make a great decision.
If you are considering giving to hurricane relief we have some resources that might be helpful.
What’s the best way to give?
To start, check out our post Before You Give as it will have some good general information about some things to consider. There are two unique aspects to giving due to a natural disaster to also be aware of:
- Beware of scams – sadly, many con artists will use this as an opportunity. Be aware of this and only give to organizations you’ve checked out. In short, be wary of the Facebook groups soliciting donations.
- Consider the program you’d like to support – many organizations will be providing support to areas affected by natural disaster, each in their own way (medical, housing, food/water, search and rescue, rebuilding, etc.). You can be selective of a specific need being met, or make your donation to an organization you’re already familiar with that is taking action.
The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (www.NVOAD.org) is an association of organizations that, essentially, coordinates organizations in their relief efforts in order to mitigate and alleviate the impact of disasters.
Their website allows you to learn which organizations are working and easily donate to their efforts. We have followed the principles outlined in Before You Give to come up with several options in case you aren’t interested in doing the research. We are not associated with these organizations in any way, we just think they are doing good work.
The Salvation Army – Food trucks, setting up shelters and emotional & spiritual care.
Heart to Heart International – providing medical support and aid distribution in the areas of greatest need.
Habitat for Humanity’s Disaster Response Program – erecting emergency shelter, accessing or affirming land rights, improving a transitional shelter solution, defining next steps for a disaster damaged house or expanding a new housing solution.