Some of the largest ever natural disasters have occurred in the last decade.
These include the earthquake and tsunami in South East Asia in December 2004, Hurricane Katrina in the Southern United States and the earthquake in Japan in 2011 and most recently in Nepal.
Plus the recent tornado in Arkansas and floods in Florida. Thousands of disasters occur every year.
They all don't affect people everywhere, but the impact is as dire for each one that has to experience it. Each time a disaster occurs our hearts go out to those affected. What can be done when we are many miles away?
The following are just some of the ways you might consider contributing to others affected by a disaster:
1. Pray. If you believe that miracles happen every day, and they do, as I do, then prayer should be at the top of your list. God is still in control even when things are going out of control.
2. Give Blood. There will always be a need for blood. Blood is life, especially when major disasters occur. Contact the Red Cross to learn about giving blood and schedule a time to donate. Find your local Red Cross chapter here.
3. Send Notes. Give hope to the victims of the disaster as well as to the relief workers by sending an encouraging note. If you do not have specific individuals to send to, send your notes to the local area through relief agencies, churches, schools or websites.
4. Give of your time by volunteering. Go with a group to the location of the disaster to be a part of the rebuilding process. This could be with a local church or organization. You can also donate clothes or tinned food to volunteer organizations that respond to disasters. One of the first to respond is the Salvation Army. You can register your desire to volunteer by contacting your local Salvation Army office.
5. Donate Funds. Make a financial contribution to organizations that support the victims of the disaster. The Red Cross and The Salvation Army responds to thousands of disasters each year. You can donate HERE
6. Donate Items. When disasters happen, people can be without necessities for a long time. You can help by donating some of these items. If you want to support relief efforts by providing items, one of the best ways is to build and send relief kits. The United Methodist Committee on Relief and Operation Blessing are two organizations that teach you how to make the relief kits and where to send them. You can contact these organizations at 1-800-814-8765 and 1-757-226-3401, respectively.
7. Provide Shelter. If you own property with vacant rental housing, you might help those driven from their home.
8. Have a Fundraiser. If you cannot afford to donate funds, conduct a fundraising event. The fundraiser does not need to be extravagant. I personally am aware of adults and children that have raised money by having a yard sales and shaving their hair. All for a good cause.
9. Buy Intentionally. Shop at stores and eat at restaurants that donate a portion of their profits to support disaster relief efforts.
This is just a small sample of things that you could do. I challenge and encourage you to identify two or more ways to plan and contribute to disaster relief efforts. Start today. Every single act counts.