Hurricane Idalia made landfall in Florida on Wednesday, causing devastating flooding. It then moved on to bring surging water into Charleston, S.C., before heading toward North Carolina on Thursday.
Volunteers and aid groups are working to help the affected communities. If you wish to help, here’s some guidance.
First, do your research.
When natural disasters arise, so do the opportunities for fraudsters who prey on people in need and exploit the generous impulses of others. Officials with the Federal Communications Commission have said that scammers may use phone calls, text messages, emails, post mail, and even go door to door. The Federal Trade Commission has tips on how to spot a fraudulent charity or fund-raiser.
How you can help.
Florida has activated its Florida Disaster Fund to support communities affected by Idalia. The fund is part of the Volunteer Florida Foundation, the state’s charitable organization that supports volunteerism, community service, and disaster recovery.
The American Red Cross is also providing relief for people affected by the storm. (Specify “Hurricane Idalia” in the drop-down menu if you wish to donate.)
For a more general approach, GoFundMe.org has a dedicated “Hurricane 2023 Relief Fund.” The fund aims to prepare before storms hit to provide direct relief when a storm hits.
The Salvation Army has activated its response teams in Lakeland, Fla., and is accepting donations, including by check and online.
Second Harvest of the Big Bend has set up a disaster relief fund for those who have been hit by Idalia. The food bank is one of three Feeding America food banks in Florida that is designated for disaster and crisis response, according to the organization. It’s also asking people to volunteer on Thursday to bag ready-to-eat produce and box disaster relief food kits.
Don’t forget about the animals. Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Florida is asking for help as it tries to rescue pets in need who were in the storm’s path. “Animals most in need will find relief through our efforts, but we can’t do it alone,” the organization said on its Facebook page.