We've compiled a list of reputable organizations that are assisting in relief efforts for Hurricane Florence, from local pet shelters to national humanitarian organizations.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC)'s predictions of both "catastrophic" flooding and "life-threatening" storm surges has kicked emergency relief efforts into high gear. Thus far, 1.7 million people have been required to leave their homes in the coastal areas of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, and millions of homes have been put under official watch or warnings for extreme weather conditions.
Although its wind speed has weakened, the hurricane has increased in size, resulting in greater risk for a greater number of people. So far, floods as deep as 6.3 feet and wind gusts as fast as 105 mph have been recorded.
For those looking to help, we've compiled a list of reputable organizations that are assisting in relief efforts.
While the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) says that monetary donations are the best way to provide aid, organizations like the American Red Cross and National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster are also accepting volunteers. The following list encompasses local, national, and international organizations offering a variety of services during the crisis.
Note: It's not clear whether all of these organizations will spend 100% of donations received on hurricane relief and associated expenses. In past large-scale disasters, they have given high percentages of donations directly to victims, especially if there is a specific fund set up. To avoid scams, it's always good to research a group before donating by checking scores from independents groups like Charity Navigator and Charity Watch.
General Aid: North Carolina Community Foundation
Since its inception in 1988, the North Carolina Community Foundation has offered $101 million worth of grants throughout the state. It currently serves 67 counties and is affiliated with 60 different foundations.
Visit their website to find out how you can donate to their relief efforts. The organization's grants focus on mid- to long-term recovery efforts and do not compete with the efforts of first responders.
General Aid: Direct Relief
Direct Relief is an international humanitarian organization that serves more than 80 countries, including all 50 states in the US. They currently have a perfect score on Charity Watch, which evaluates their financial performance, accountability, and transparency.
At the start of Hurricane Florence, the organization distributed hurricane-specific medicines and supplies in high-risk areas along the coast. They're also coordinating relief efforts with more than 200 healthcare partners in the area.
Hunger Relief: Harvest Hope Food Bank
Harvest Hope Food Bank is a regional organization serving residents in Columbia, Lexington, Greenville, and Florence, South Carolina. Their website allows you to donate meals to those affected by the crisis (just select "disaster relief" when you fill out their online form). A $10 donation could help provide 50 meals for hurricane victims.
Hunger Relief: The Salvation Army
A world leader in disaster relief, the Salvation Army has stayed ahead of the crisis by deploying volunteers from Florida earlier this week. Its mobile feeding units have the capacity to serve 500 to 1,500 meals per day. Visit its website to donate or receive updates on where its services are headed.
Medical Services: Americares
Americares is dedicated to improving the health of those affected by poverty or disaster. For the last 40 years, the organization has given more than $15 billion in aid to 164 countries.
Their response team has touched down in North Carolina and is working with partners in the area to provide emergency medical services and long-term humanitarian assistance. For every $10 donation, they provide $100 in aid. To assist their efforts, visit their online donation page.
Medical Services: National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics
Those looking to donate medical services might consider giving to the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, which provides access to healthcare, medications, and supplies during a disaster.
They're currently accepting monetary donations for Hurricane Florence, or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to donate goods such as gas cards, laptops, tablets, blood pressure cuffs, or walkie-talkies.
Home Repair: Mennonite Disaster Service
The Mennonite Disaster Service is a nonprofit volunteer network that responds to natural and man-made disasters in Canada and the US. Their efforts are dedicated to the cleanup, repair, and rebuilding of homes. A $40 daily donation is enough to provide dorm-style lodging, meals, tools, and equipment for one of their volunteers.
Financial Aid: GlobalGiving
Hurricane Florence could be the costliest storm to ever hit the US, generating more than $170 billion in economic losses for the East Coast. Those looking to make a financial contribution to the crisis might want to check out GlobalGiving, the first and largest global crowdfunding community.
The organization has created a Hurricane Florence Relief Fund, which will go toward immediate food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter, along with long-term recovery projects.
Animal Rescue: Charleston Animal Society
Around 600,000 pets were killed or displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Already, the Charleston Animal Society has evacuated dozens of dogs in Myrtle Beach ahead of Hurricane Florence, and will continue to support South Carolina's emergency pet shelters during the crisis. Visit their website to help out.
Animal Rescue: American Humane
As of Wednesday, American Humane has evacuated more than 70 cats in South Carolina and is coordinating with multiple shelters along the coast. To aid their efforts or receive updates, visit their online donation page.