When Hurricane Ida made landfall and hit New Orleans on Aug. 29, 2021, it did so 16 years to the day Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. This time around, the hurricane has left nearly one million people without power.
As Hurricane Ida continues to move inland and batter the south, recovery efforts are imperative. Disaster response organizations will be looking for volunteers to help in the Gulf and beyond. If you plan on helping those affected by Hurricane Ida, here are six things to know before you begin.
Disaster response organizations like Minuteman Disaster Response often require volunteer training before people join their service projects. Volunteer training and orientation help keep you, other volunteers, and the people you are helping safe.
Skills-based volunteering helps tremendously when volunteering with hurricane relief efforts. People are needed to help rebuild homes and businesses, repair downed power lines, etc. Having skilled volunteers spearhead these efforts ensures things are done properly.
Skill-based volunteering doesn’t always equate to specialized skills. In times of great need, skills can be simplified:
Before leaving to help, know where and who you will be serving. While there are plenty of national organizations like United Way aiding recovery efforts, there are also local organizations that need just as much help but don’t have as wide of an audience to reach. Research and contact local churches and nonprofits in the area you plan on volunteering in.
If you are driving to aid in recovery efforts, pack what relief supplies you can to make the most out of your trip to the Gulf. These include bottled water, non-perishable food, and toiletries. Not sure what is needed? Reach out to local groups as they will know what their community needs. When you do travel, keep in mind that roads may be washed out, so plan your route accordingly and be patient.
Hurricane Ida has left many Americans homeless and shelters are popping up to accommodate the growing number of people impacted. These shelters need help preparing meals and supplies to keep storm victims fed, warm, and safe. This might include helping sort and distribute items. It can also include ordering items online and lining up where to ship the supplies for distribution.
If you want to aid recovery efforts but can’t physically be there, make a financial contribution to disaster recovery organizations. Organizations like World Central Kitchen provide food relief. Other organizations, like United Cajun Navy, provide water rescue once a storm warning is issued, as well as clean up after the storm passes. To find organizations that specialize in disaster relief, search the National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster website.