This blog post originally appeared on Saagar Gupta’s website.
With the holiday season now in full swing, it is not uncommon for individuals to get so caught up in completing their own to-do lists that they forget the other pressing matters in our world. However, it is entirely possible to remedy such negligence, especially as many ongoing relief efforts and charities are seeking additional support in aiding the victims of recent natural disasters — namely, Hurricane Maria.
Nearly three months after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, the United States territory is still grappling for the basic necessities — such as food, clean drinking water, and electricity.
Given this humanitarian crisis, it should come as no surprise that a massive number of families fled the island before and in the wake of the storm. The state of Florida estimates more than 215,000 residents of Puerto Rico have arrived in the state since October 3, which is when they began formally counting. Additionally, it is believed over 470,000 people will leave the island in the next two years — meaning they will need a great amount of help to make such a transition.
With that in mind, let us take a closer look at the ways you can aid the displaced victims of Hurricane Maria — both now and in the days to come.
Volunteer at a local non-profit organization
As more survivors arrive on the mainland United States, many organizations have stepped forward and offered assistance to families seeking housing, jobs, access to English classes, and even updating voter registration information.
Depending on the needs and overall level of involvement of your local organizations, you may be able to volunteer and work directly with and for the benefit of survivors, or you may be asked to donate money, household goods, clothing, or other items needed to provide families with the basic necessities.
Become an ally in your community
Whether you live in Florida or another region of the United States, you are likely to encounter a survivor of Hurricane Maria, as a good amount have opted to stay with relatives while getting back on their feet. Be sure to introduce and establish yourself as a friendly face and helping hand to those making this transition.
Sometimes, the simple act of showing kindness could provide more relief than you had originally anticipated, especially as making a big move under such traumatic circumstances is a draining and stressful experience. Additionally, your actions may inspire others to show the same level of support to others in your community — a chain reaction that is all too necessary during this troubling time.