Recovery efforts are underway in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia. The storm came ashore in Florida as a Category 3 hurricane with wind gusts of 160mph, sending a surge of seawater up to 16 feet through vulnerable coastal areas. Analysts believe Idalia could become the costliest climate disaster to affect the U.S. this year, with an initial estimated price tag close to $10 billion, leaving many in our state homeless, traumatized and in urgent need of assistance.
If you would like to provide aid to those who have lost homes, livelihoods or loved ones, here are five effective ways to support those impacted by Hurricane Idalia.
World Central Kitchen is a chef-founded nonprofit with a mission to be first to the frontlines, providing meals in response to humanitarian, climate and community crises. Within hours after Idalia battered Florida’s Big Bend, WCK teams were already out in full force, distributing food to families and emergency crews. You can support WCK’S efforts by donating here.
Florida Disaster Fund
The Florida Disaster Fund is the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster. In partnership with the public sector, private sector and other non-governmental organizations, the Florida Disaster Fund supports response and recovery activities.
Donations to the Florida Disaster Fund are made to the Volunteer Florida Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization (EIN# 01-0973168), and are tax-deductible. VISA has committed to waiving all interchange fees associated with Hurricane Idalia Florida Disaster Fund donations. Learn more and donate here.
Second Harvest of the Big Bend
Second Harvest is a nonprofit food bank that collects and distributes food to hunger-relief charities and through specialized programs and mobile food distributions undertaken with community partners. Second Harvest is responding to the direct impacts of Hurricane Idalia on its 16-county service area. You can support the nonprofit’s efforts by donating or volunteering to help at fightinghunger.org/idalia-help.
Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay
Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay, a nonprofit with experience in community revitalization and disaster recovery, is now accepting applications from those affected by Hurricane Idalia for immediate recovery assistance. This includes mucking and gutting, chainsaw work and yard debris removal, roof tarping and other time-sensitive needs. Assistance is provided free of charge, thanks to donations and volunteers. You can support Rebuilding Together’s work here.
United Way Citrus County
United Way of Citrus County is located in Crystal River, a city hit hard by Hurricane Idalia. “Most of the city is underwater,” said Crystal River Mayor Joe Meek. United Way is serving as a monetary and supply collection site for those affected by the storm surge. If you wish to contribute supplies, you can drop them off at 1582 N Meadowcrest Blvd. in Crystal River. Supplies needed include water, paper towels, cleaning supplies, rakes, rubber gloves, work gloves, trash bags and bleach. To donate to United Way’s hurricane relief efforts, click here.
You can also consider organizing a fundraising initiative. Community solidarity can lead to powerful outcomes. Organize fundraising drives in your neighborhood, workplace, or online community. Donations from charity drives, benefit concerts, online crowdfunding campaigns, or even creative initiatives like art auctions can be channeled towards relief efforts, helping survivors rebuild their lives and communities.
By donating, volunteering, offering housing, fundraising and providing emotional support, you can play an active role in helping those affected by this natural disaster to rebuild their lives and find hope in the midst of adversity.