Since April 2017, areas around the Northern Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea have suffered devastating damage caused by hurricanes, with the recent category 5 Hurricane Maria causing severe damage to Puerto Rico. How can we help? 

Donation Ideas

Making a donation - in the form of money, food, clothing, or toys - may seem small but can be meaningful to the victims of these hurricanes. A group of friends could organize a lemonade stand, a car wash, a garage sale or a bake sale which gives its proceeds to the American Red Cross or to UNICEF. All you need are supplies for your fundraiser, community members who can chip in, and a way to donate online - either through PayPal or with a credit or debit card. Monetary donations are usually the most helpful donations, according to The United States Agency of International Development (USAID). Monetary donations do not come with shipping fees or delays and do not require management like material donations, such as clothing or toys.

Clothing and Toy Donations

Nevertheless, material donations could make a great impact as well. According to ABC News, the most needed items amongst Hurricane Harvey victims included the following: baby food, baby formula, diapers, medical supplies, wheelchairs, plus-sized clothes, baby and children’s clothes, and toiletries. This is a great opportunity to partner up with your children to go through clothes that no longer fit; donating good-condition clothes will teach your kids about the impact of charity. If you know how to stitch, you can even make a quilt out of old t-shirts. Check out this tutorial to learn how you can make a t-shirt quilt.

On the same note, donating used toys that kids or younger cousins no longer play with can also teach the impact of charity. If children hold onto their toys defensively, try asking them to choose 2-3 toys they are willing to donate, or stick with clothing that no longer fits them.

Getting involved with charity and community service teaches adults and young people alike how to better understand the concepts of compassion, community and charity. All of us – no matter how young or old – are part of a bigger community, and it’s on us to band together when members of our community are in need. We can make a difference when we work together! For more information, please visit the American Red Cross website or Time's list of charitable organizations: http://time.com/4964178/how-to-help-puerto-rico-donate-volunteer/