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NOLA Family August 2022 Issue
Photo: David J. Phillip/AP
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Hurricane Harvey – How New Orleans Can Help

Photo: David J. Phillip/AP

There is no doubt that Hurricane Harvey affects us in New Orleans in a unique way. We all understand on a level that few others can. We have our own special kind of PTSD that an event like this triggers. More urgently, more viscerally, we have a sense of gratitude to Houston and a special desire, because of this, to help. 

Here, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of where and how you can help. From all of us at Nola Family, thank you. 

4 Tips on Disaster Relief Giving

 

1. Give cash, not clothes (or other goods). Giving away unwanted items makes donors feel good, and relief agencies can be under substantial pressure to accept their gifts-in-kind. But shipping and sorting these gifts can be a substantial expense and hassle, and such gifts can literally get in the way. If you have items you don’t want, consider selling them and donating the proceeds. Gifts-in-kind burden relief organizations with figuring out how to use what they have; cash allows them to quickly get what they need. 

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2. Support an organization that will help or get out of the way. Logistics can be a major challenge in disaster situations. For example, when we followed up on the Haiti earthquake relief effort a year after the incident, much of the disaster relief money had still not been spent, and that ~80%+ of the rubble had still not been cleared. A highly professional, experienced organization with a pre-existing presence in the affected country will likely help where it can, and stay out of the way where it can’t. But a less professional organization could easily detract from the relief effort.

3. Give proactively, not reactively. Don’t give to a charity just because it calls you on the phone, advertises on your Google search or otherwise connects with you first. That rewards the most aggressive organizations instead of the most competent and responsible ones. Instead, give not just money but thoughtfulness – take the time to find the best giving option you can.

4. Allow your funds to be used where most needed – even if that means they’re not used during this disaster. Disasters attract a great deal of media attention and money, yet in many cases the biggest challenge is logistics. The result can be that money isn’t the limiting factor in the immediate relief effort. That doesn’t mean money isn’t needed. The rebuilding effort can be very expensive. Beyond that, there are many disasters – and cases of everyday suffering – that aid organizations struggle to address, without being able to raise nearly as much funding for them as they can for a media-dominating disaster. It’s common for charities to use a disaster as an opportunity to raise funds for their other work.

tips: Written by Holden of givewell.org

How to Help Locally

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More Ways to Help Nationally

 

More Articles on Helping Hurricane Harvey Victims

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