It’s all hands on deck for disaster relief efforts following Hurricane Ida, the fifth strongest storm to make landfall in the mainland U.S., and on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, no less.
Homes and businesses across the U.S.—from New Orleans, Louisiana and surrounding parishes to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states—remain flooded and uninhabitable while governmental agencies and emergency crews work to reopen roads and restore power, running water, a working sewer system—it’s intense. So, again in recent weeks, we ask, “What can we do to help?”
Many nonprofit organizations and the good volunteers who run them are on the ground, hustling to assist residents who have lost nearly everything. So let’s show some love to our neighbors as they pick up the pieces.
Here we’re listing five organizations assisting with relief efforts in the weeks and possibly months to come. Know of any other reputable organizations doing great work? Please email us at email@example.com and we’ll add to the list.
Based in: U.S. and international reach with headquarters in Washington, D.C.
What they do: The Red Cross is a nonprofit that runs 24/7 on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission of providing medical care, shelter and hope to all people affected by disaster, as well as giving access to lifesaving blood donations. Volunteers in response vehicles are currently on the ground distributing supplies, placed in disaster areas before the storm, such as cots, blankets, comfort kits, water, hygiene items and some 68,000 ready-to-eat meals.
What they need: To make a financial gift visit redcross.org or make a $10 donation by texting the word ‘REDCROSS’ to 90999. Sign up here to volunteer at a local shelter, helping coordinate day-to-day activities, or other volunteer opportunities closest to you. Virtual positions are open for you to volunteer from home. The Red Cross is unable to accept in-kind donations from the community due to the logistical constraints, but bulk donations may be accepted from suppliers.
Based in: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
What they do: This nationally registered nonprofit provides search and rescue and disaster relief all over the U.S. The united movement stretches all the way from Texas to Florida, and up to Tennessee, the Carolinas, West Virginia and as far north as Michigan.
What they need: The United Cajun Navy put a call out for volunteers with trucks, trailers and vehicles capable of delivering supplies to hurricane-affected areas.
If you have supplies to donate—water, food, cleaning supplies, tarps, diapers—those are accepted at the collection location: 2053 West Magna Carta PL, Baton Rouge, LA 70815-5523.
Based in: New Orleans, Louisiana
What they do: Founded in 2016, this citizen-led organization has assisted in numerous rescues over land and water and disaster relief.
What they need: CNR accepts donations through PayPal and has requested volunteers to donate and deliver toiletries, water and canned food as well as cleaning materials and supplies: rubber boots, bug spray, wipes, gloves, masks, respirators, bleach and disinfectants. (Clothing not accepted.) Click here to coordinate your supply donation. Need to make a request to receive supplies? Request them online here.
Based in: New Orleans, Louisiana
What they do: Born in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, SBP has operating sites in disaster-impacted communities throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and Bahamas. SBP works to rebuild homes, give preparedness training for residents in at-risk communities, and works with government entities to enable more efficient use of federal funds.
What they need: Volunteers for rebuilding homes, which may include hanging insulation or drywall, mudding/spackling, sanding, texturing, priming, painting, laying floors, and/or hanging trim, doors and baseboards. Online fundraising accepted here.
Based in: New Orleans and Lafayette, Louisiana
What they do: A member of Feeding America and United Way, this food bank responds to emergencies and disasters across South Louisiana year-round and to the everyday disaster of hunger in South Louisiana.
What they need: Monetary donations are accepted online to purchase supplies in bulk. If you’d like to make an in-kind donation those can be dropped off in person at either of the food bank facilities: 700 Edwards Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana 70123, and 215 East Pinhook Road, Lafayette, Louisiana 70501. The most needed items include canned tuna, peanut butter, shelf-stable fruits and vegetables, and cleaning supplies. Please note that Second Harvest does not accept clothing and fabric goods. To volunteer in-person, reach out to these contacts at each food bank location.
Contact: Call the public assistance helpline at 855/392-9338 or the statewide free non-emergency number 211 to get food assistance from Second Harvest and partner organizations. Email the food banks at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow their efforts online via Facebook and Twitter.
Texas Motor Speedway has opened one of its campgrounds to victims of the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida, free of charge and open to whomever is in need. The campground is located on speedway property off Highway 114, just south of the Lone Star Kartpark.
The adjacent shower/restroom facility is open and available. Directional signs to the campground will be posted throughout the facility. Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter is working with the American Red Cross to help collect monetary and blood donations for those affected by the hurricane. Reach out by calling 817/215-8421 or emailing email@example.com.
Before giving online, be mindful to avoid scams and only give to trusted organizations. CharityNavigator.org has curated its own list of highly-rated nonprofits providing hurricane relief and recovery efforts. You can also check out the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org to view any complaints if the organization is registered.