Helping Others After a Disaster or Traumatic Event

Posted May 24, 2018

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Summary

  • Where and how to volunteer or donate after a disaster
  • Tips for giving money and avoiding fraud

We often want to help those in need after a disaster happens either close to home or around the world, but what can we do? We are often asked to donate money. But how do we know our money will go to those in need, and what if we want to give in some other way?

Volunteering close to home

If you want to offer hands-on help, first check out your local government’s website. Your local government will let you know how best to help. They typically list:

  • Items needed, such as clothes or blankets, and locations of collection sites
  • The people needed, such as nurses, foreign language translators, or construction workers
  • Special equipment needed, such as chain saws and four-wheel drive vehicles
  • Requests for volunteers to transport or temporarily house people or pets
  • Where to give blood

Most churches are also set up to help communities in times of emergency. You do not have to belong to the organization to fill a basket with food or pack medical supplies. You can also check with your local Chamber of Commerce, newspaper, or news station for ways to help.

Several websites provide volunteer opportunities for disaster relief. It is best to be prepared in advance rather than trying to find an opportunity at the last minute. Visit these sites when you have the time and register in advance.

Tips for giving money

Give money only to places you have heard of. Trustworthy organizations will tell you how to contact them and how donations are spent.

You can check on good and bad charities by visiting the following websites.

It may be hard to know where to direct your dollars. A good rule is to follow your heart. If children and families are your main interest, then give to places that focus on them. If you are interested in housing, medicine, or animals then follow that lead.

Tips for avoiding fraud

  • Do not give to a charity you have never heard of.
  • Never feel rushed to give on the spot. Ask the person or organization to mail information to you. If they pester you, hang up, close the door, or walk away.
  • Make sure you have full contact information for the organization.
  • Follow your instincts. Do not donate if something does not feel right.
  • Never give cash.
  • Only give out a credit card number if you are 100 percent sure about the charity. Use a third-party service, such as PayPal, if you donate online.
  • Never give your Social Security number.
  • Keep records of all donations.
  • Stay away from any organizations that use high-pressure or overly emotional appeals, promise special treatment by the police or fire departments, or have names that sound like other well-known charities but are slightly different.
  • It is best not to respond to phone or text solicitations. Hang up, or if it is a text, reply “STOP.”
  • Make sure online donation sites are secure. You should see an unbroken key or lock symbol in the corner.
  • Make sure that any contractors you hire are licensed and bonded to do the work. Ask to see their credentials. Look for your own qualified and trusted contractors.

To report a fraud

Helping a friend or family member

Sometimes the disaster hits close to home. Maybe your friend has gone through a personal tragedy such as the death of a loved one or a major illness. This can be a delicate situation but it is good to offer help and emotional support. Some tips to help include:

  • Provide meals or food delivery.
  • Offer to run errands, watch a pet, or mow the grass. If they do not need it today, tell them you can do something in the future when they need it.
  • Ask what the person needs in terms of practical help.
  • Contact the person every few days and simply listen to their concerns. Do not pressure them to talk about it if they are not ready.
  • Visit every once in a while to let them know they are not forgotten. Sit or walk with them even if they do not seem to have the energy to socialize.
  • If you are concerned about the person’s physical or mental health, call your employee assistance program, house of worship, or doctor for a list of professionals who can help.
By Amy Fries

Summary

  • Where and how to volunteer or donate after a disaster
  • Tips for giving money and avoiding fraud

We often want to help those in need after a disaster happens either close to home or around the world, but what can we do? We are often asked to donate money. But how do we know our money will go to those in need, and what if we want to give in some other way?

Volunteering close to home

If you want to offer hands-on help, first check out your local government’s website. Your local government will let you know how best to help. They typically list:

  • Items needed, such as clothes or blankets, and locations of collection sites
  • The people needed, such as nurses, foreign language translators, or construction workers
  • Special equipment needed, such as chain saws and four-wheel drive vehicles
  • Requests for volunteers to transport or temporarily house people or pets
  • Where to give blood

Most churches are also set up to help communities in times of emergency. You do not have to belong to the organization to fill a basket with food or pack medical supplies. You can also check with your local Chamber of Commerce, newspaper, or news station for ways to help.

Several websites provide volunteer opportunities for disaster relief. It is best to be prepared in advance rather than trying to find an opportunity at the last minute. Visit these sites when you have the time and register in advance.

Tips for giving money

Give money only to places you have heard of. Trustworthy organizations will tell you how to contact them and how donations are spent.

You can check on good and bad charities by visiting the following websites.

It may be hard to know where to direct your dollars. A good rule is to follow your heart. If children and families are your main interest, then give to places that focus on them. If you are interested in housing, medicine, or animals then follow that lead.

Tips for avoiding fraud

  • Do not give to a charity you have never heard of.
  • Never feel rushed to give on the spot. Ask the person or organization to mail information to you. If they pester you, hang up, close the door, or walk away.
  • Make sure you have full contact information for the organization.
  • Follow your instincts. Do not donate if something does not feel right.
  • Never give cash.
  • Only give out a credit card number if you are 100 percent sure about the charity. Use a third-party service, such as PayPal, if you donate online.
  • Never give your Social Security number.
  • Keep records of all donations.
  • Stay away from any organizations that use high-pressure or overly emotional appeals, promise special treatment by the police or fire departments, or have names that sound like other well-known charities but are slightly different.
  • It is best not to respond to phone or text solicitations. Hang up, or if it is a text, reply “STOP.”
  • Make sure online donation sites are secure. You should see an unbroken key or lock symbol in the corner.
  • Make sure that any contractors you hire are licensed and bonded to do the work. Ask to see their credentials. Look for your own qualified and trusted contractors.

To report a fraud

Helping a friend or family member

Sometimes the disaster hits close to home. Maybe your friend has gone through a personal tragedy such as the death of a loved one or a major illness. This can be a delicate situation but it is good to offer help and emotional support. Some tips to help include:

  • Provide meals or food delivery.
  • Offer to run errands, watch a pet, or mow the grass. If they do not need it today, tell them you can do something in the future when they need it.
  • Ask what the person needs in terms of practical help.
  • Contact the person every few days and simply listen to their concerns. Do not pressure them to talk about it if they are not ready.
  • Visit every once in a while to let them know they are not forgotten. Sit or walk with them even if they do not seem to have the energy to socialize.
  • If you are concerned about the person’s physical or mental health, call your employee assistance program, house of worship, or doctor for a list of professionals who can help.
By Amy Fries

Summary

  • Where and how to volunteer or donate after a disaster
  • Tips for giving money and avoiding fraud

We often want to help those in need after a disaster happens either close to home or around the world, but what can we do? We are often asked to donate money. But how do we know our money will go to those in need, and what if we want to give in some other way?

Volunteering close to home

If you want to offer hands-on help, first check out your local government’s website. Your local government will let you know how best to help. They typically list:

  • Items needed, such as clothes or blankets, and locations of collection sites
  • The people needed, such as nurses, foreign language translators, or construction workers
  • Special equipment needed, such as chain saws and four-wheel drive vehicles
  • Requests for volunteers to transport or temporarily house people or pets
  • Where to give blood

Most churches are also set up to help communities in times of emergency. You do not have to belong to the organization to fill a basket with food or pack medical supplies. You can also check with your local Chamber of Commerce, newspaper, or news station for ways to help.

Several websites provide volunteer opportunities for disaster relief. It is best to be prepared in advance rather than trying to find an opportunity at the last minute. Visit these sites when you have the time and register in advance.

Tips for giving money

Give money only to places you have heard of. Trustworthy organizations will tell you how to contact them and how donations are spent.

You can check on good and bad charities by visiting the following websites.

It may be hard to know where to direct your dollars. A good rule is to follow your heart. If children and families are your main interest, then give to places that focus on them. If you are interested in housing, medicine, or animals then follow that lead.

Tips for avoiding fraud

  • Do not give to a charity you have never heard of.
  • Never feel rushed to give on the spot. Ask the person or organization to mail information to you. If they pester you, hang up, close the door, or walk away.
  • Make sure you have full contact information for the organization.
  • Follow your instincts. Do not donate if something does not feel right.
  • Never give cash.
  • Only give out a credit card number if you are 100 percent sure about the charity. Use a third-party service, such as PayPal, if you donate online.
  • Never give your Social Security number.
  • Keep records of all donations.
  • Stay away from any organizations that use high-pressure or overly emotional appeals, promise special treatment by the police or fire departments, or have names that sound like other well-known charities but are slightly different.
  • It is best not to respond to phone or text solicitations. Hang up, or if it is a text, reply “STOP.”
  • Make sure online donation sites are secure. You should see an unbroken key or lock symbol in the corner.
  • Make sure that any contractors you hire are licensed and bonded to do the work. Ask to see their credentials. Look for your own qualified and trusted contractors.

To report a fraud

Helping a friend or family member

Sometimes the disaster hits close to home. Maybe your friend has gone through a personal tragedy such as the death of a loved one or a major illness. This can be a delicate situation but it is good to offer help and emotional support. Some tips to help include:

  • Provide meals or food delivery.
  • Offer to run errands, watch a pet, or mow the grass. If they do not need it today, tell them you can do something in the future when they need it.
  • Ask what the person needs in terms of practical help.
  • Contact the person every few days and simply listen to their concerns. Do not pressure them to talk about it if they are not ready.
  • Visit every once in a while to let them know they are not forgotten. Sit or walk with them even if they do not seem to have the energy to socialize.
  • If you are concerned about the person’s physical or mental health, call your employee assistance program, house of worship, or doctor for a list of professionals who can help.
By Amy Fries

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, assessments, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2018 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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