Comfort the hurting, pull the trapped out of the wreckage, administer first aid until help arrives. But if you’re 150 miles away, don’t jump in your pickup with a load of used clothing. Odds are you’ll just be in the way – and could even be mistaken as a looter! The Salvation Army mobilizes its 3.4 million volunteers in times of disaster – but most have gone through specialized training and are sent where they can be the most effective. The same goes for the millions of volunteers trained by the American Red Cross.The Salvation Army encourages all residents of areas in the storm’s path to stay informed of and heed all warnings and evacuation orders. Disaster response professionals recommend having a three-to-five day supply of food and water for each member of your family as well as flashlights, medication and battery powered radios. Monetary donations are the most critical need as supplies and personnel are mobilized. Donors are encouraged to give online at www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769). You can also text the word “STORM” to 80888 to make a $10 donation through your mobile phone; to confirm your gift, respond with the word “Yes.
American Red Cross Disaster Relief – Financial donations help the Red Cross provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected by disasters like Hurricane Sandy. To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to someone’s local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
Blood donations are needed not only because of the injuries caused by the powerful storm but also because 100 blood drives on the East Coast have been cancelled in 11 states. All blood types are needed right now. For more information on how to donate, go to redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS.
Incredibly, 96 percent of Red Cross personnel are unpaid – volunteers who step up to lend a hand in time of need. Currently, the Red Cross is seeking volunteers willing to be trained to respond to local and national disasters. Contact your local chapter and ask what you can do.
Feeding America is securing food, water and other supplies for Hurricane Sandy’s victims. To learn more about Feeding America and its disaster relief operations, or to donate to the organization, please visit www.feedingamerica.org. Donations can also be accepted by calling 800-910-5524.