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How to help Hurricane Michael victims: 15 things you can do right now

How to help Hurricane Michael victims: 15 things you can do right now
[Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images]

Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday, wreaking havoc on the communities that lay in its path. The Category 4 storm, one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the continental United States in 50 years, brought heavy winds, rain, and flooding to the Gulf Coast, as well as Georgia, Virginia, and the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence (climate change, man).

At least 11 people died because of the storm. While the danger from Michael has mostly passed, and it was downgraded to a tropical storm at midnight on Wednesday, the affected communities need help rebuilding.

Here’s how to help, and be sure to give to vetted organizations by checking sites like Charity Navigator:

  • Facebook: Facebook is matching $1 million in donations made to Save the Children, which is responding to the needs of children and families in affected areas. All donations made on the crisis page or through the Donate Button on the top of News Feed are eligible.
  • Airbnb: Hosts in the hurricane-affected region have signed up to house those in need, including relief workers in the area to help rebuild. Available homes are marked on a map and are free to relief workers and those displaced by the storm from Oct. 8 to Oct. 29. Want to help host hurricane evacuees? Sign up here.
  • GoFundMe: GoFundMe has put together a list of verified campaigns here. They have also set up a general relief fund to directly help those affected by Hurricane Michael.
  • Florida Urgent Rescue: This Jacksonville, Florida, animal rescue group took in dogs from shelters in Hurricane Michael’s path. To make a donation online, click here.
  • Global Giving: The website has established a Hurricane Michael Relief Fund to support local emergency medical workers, providing food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter to the affected communities.
  • DonorsChoose.org: This charity has created a recovery fund to directly support teachers in classrooms damaged by Michael. Contributions will help teachers support their students and restock classrooms with materials like books, furniture, classroom supplies, and technology.
  • Humane Society Naples: This no-kill Florida shelter has been sending out rescue teams to towns affected by the hurricane to save any animals in need. You can donate here to support their efforts.
  • Feeding the Gulf Coast: If you’re local, Feeding the Gulf is looking for volunteers to help make sure families in affected areas have plenty of food. They are working in collaboration with Feeding America, Feeding Florida Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), and other disaster responders to distribute food in areas affected by Hurricane Michael. If you’re not local, make a monetary donation here.
  • Florida Disaster Fund: The State of Florida’s official private fund supports communities as they respond to and recover from emergencies. Donate here to share funds that will help in disaster-related response and recovery.
  • American Red Cross: You can make donations for victims of Hurricane Michael by visiting the Red Cross website or just texting the word MICHEAL to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
  • Americares: Americares is working with partners in the area and deploying an emergency team to provide immediate support for healthcare. Donations are accepted online.
  • Habitat for Humanity: The organization that partners with future homeowners to build affordable housing said on its website that it is accepting donations that will be used to respond to families affected by Hurricane Michael “until Habitat for Humanity’s role in meeting the need is met.” Donations can be made online here.
  • The American Kidney Fund: This organization helps to make sure that one disaster doesn’t lead to another. They help fund transportation expenses to dialysis treatment, replace lost medications, and can help with temporary housing. Donate here.
  • International Medical Corps: This groups says it has sent teams of doctors and nurses to Florida at the request of the state’s Department of Health. Help them in their mission by donating here.
  • One Blood: Have a pint to spare? This nonprofit, which serves Florida and most of the Southeast, is encouraging people to donate blood to help in disaster response. Details here.
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