We are deeply saddened to hear of the impact of Hurricane Irma. Many people are without homes. There is flooding. There were deaths. There is still a lack of power for over a million people in its path. Mother Nature is angry. In the United States alone, wild fires have burned through California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Montana has been on fire since JULY—sustaining fire damage the size of Maryland. Hurricane Harvey caused significant flood damage in Houston, forcing people to leave their homes. And this weekend, Hurricane Irma has been wreaking havoc through the Caribbean and seizing the entire state of Florida with its violent grasp.
My eyes have been glued to the news watching all of this horrific damage and it all has left me feeling rather helpless. We are not in a financial position where we can offer millions of dollars to help. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t help. Here is our list of frugal things we can do to help victims of Hurricanes:
(1) DONATE BLOOD
There is currently an emergency need for blood donations. Blood donations are typically lower in the summer time but are especially low right now. Following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the need for blood donations is only going to increase. Donating blood is a free and easy thing you can give.
(2) ORGANIZE A FOOD DRIVE.
If you cannot afford to donate money or food, you can organize a food drive. Find people in your local community through local schools, churches, work, friends, neighborhoods, or any group of individuals that you are involved with. Ask for food donations and then take them to food banks who serve the communities of those most impacted by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey.
For Hurricane Harvey: you can donate food by leaving it curbside at 535 Portwall Street in Houston from
8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Saturday/Sunday
For Hurricane Irma: it is still early to determine where the worst damage occurred, but so far it is looking like the Naples area sustained the worst impact from the storm. However, the entire state felt the impact of this horrific storm. Accordingly, you can rest assured that basically ANY food bank in the state is going to have significant need, in the coming days, weeks, and months.
Canned ready-to-eat items with pull tops: vegetables, fruit
Protein in pouches or pull-top cans: tuna, beef stew, chili, canned chicken
Snacks: granola bars, breakfast bars, etc.
Cleaning supplies: mops, mop buckets, brooms, bleach wipes, bleach, garbage bags, bug spray
(3) ORGANIZE A BABY SUPPLIES DRIVE.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey there is a substantial need for baby supplies– especially for diapers, wipes, and formula. Rally the people and groups around you to donate these items and then deliver them to a local Diaper or Food Bank.
(4) HOST A “PARTY” TO COLLECT FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS
Victims of Hurricane Harvey (and surely victims of Hurricane Irma in the coming days) are reporting a severe shortage of feminine hygiene products. This is a product that understandably gets overlooked during disaster relief efforts. You can donate supplies to organizations such as Distributing Dignity who in turn are distributing them to victims of Hurricane Harvey (and likely Hurricane Irma victims as well).
(5) COUPON FOR NEEDED SUPPLIES
Put your couponing skills to the test and coupon for needed supplies. There are plenty of items that go on sale that you can combine with a coupon to get for free. The Krazy Koupon Lady has this list of items that you can get for free couponing. If you are new to couponing, this is a good website to help you get started. Many of the items that she lists are items that are desperately needed right now. You can also get cash back from free apps such as Ibotta or Ebates for many of these items.
There are many organizations that currently need volunteers to help in the wake of the devastation of both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey. Find opportunities at:
(7) GIVE A SMALL DONATION
You might not be able to afford to donate thousands of dollars, but ANY donation is helpful. Can you spare $1? $5? $20? Any donation, no matter how small, helps. Just make sure that you are donating to a legitimate organization and not a scam. Some ideas:
(8) TAKE IN A FOSTER PET
SO MANY animals get abandoned and or lost during storms like this. Organizations like San Antonio Pets Alive (SAPA) exist to help these poor displaced pooches and other animals. You can foster a pet for FREE– they provide you with practically anything you will need to temporarily house a dog or cat (including all basic vet care) so if you are available, fostering a pet can be a good option.
(9) TAKE ONLINE SURVEYS AND DONATE YOUR REWARDS
You can use your earnings from taking surveys online through apps such as Survey-Mini, Swagbucks, Pine Cone Research, and Harris Poll Online to donate to victims of the hurricanes.
(10) SET UP SUPPORT FOR INDIVIDUAL VICTIMS
You can create your own campaign for individuals that you know who have suffered loss as a result of the storm(s). Websites like gofundme.com make it easy to begin the campaign—all you have to do is create it share it with others!