Hurricane Ian struck Florida at the end of September, making landfall as a Category 4 storm on Sept. 28. As winds neared catastrophic Category 5 levels, the gales wiped out homes, flooded streets, and left 1.5 million homes without power. Ian is going down in history as the fifth-strongest storm to strike the U.S., tied with eight other storms that have had sustained winds of 150 mph at landfall. Recovery is already underway, but restoring the damages across the southwestern region, where Ian hit hardest, into central Florida, will take massive effort from disaster relief teams for the community to rebuild itself. You can help those affected by Hurricane Ian by donating, volunteering, and raising awareness. Here are the nonprofits and funds that you can donate to or volunteer with to help.
Along with devastating Florida, the effects of Ian have also impacted North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Cuba. Most crucially, it left the entire island of Cuba without power on Sept. 27 and sparked protests as much of the island still remains in the dark days later. In Florida, 23 lives were lost, according to a list released on Sept. 30 by the state Medical Examiners Commission reported by The New York Times. If you are an individual affected by Ian, you can apply for assistance online or by calling 800-621-3362.
If you’re moved to help those struggling in the aftermath of the storm, look into these charities and organizations.
Florida Disaster Fund
The state’s official private fund “assists Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster,” according to its site. The Federal Emergency Management Agency aka FEMA has advised donations go toward the Florida Disaster Fund. Funds donated to the Florida Disaster Fund will be distributed to service organizations to serve individuals within their communities. You can donate online or text DISASTER to 20222.
Save the Children
An independent humanitarian organization for children, Save the Children is assisting families and children with “essential, child-focused items” including “water, hygiene kits, diapers, wipes, portable cribs, and more.” In previous hurricane disasters, they have set up play areas in evacuation shelters to help children recover. Donate online.
American Red Cross
The Red Cross has set up 100 shelters across Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia for people who need a safe place to stay after the hurricane. They are working with a thousand Red Cross workers to support relief efforts. There are many ways to donate to support the American Red Cross’s relief work. You can donate online, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text IAN to 90999 to make a $10 donation. They are also encouraging individuals to donate blood to make up for the canceled Red Cross blood drives around affected areas.
The largest charity working to end hunger in the U.S., Feeding America is distributing “disaster boxes and water” to communities in Florida and working with partners “to source food donations.” You can help Feeding America by donating online or finding local food banks to donate to ensure those impacted have the essential foods needed.
As a global health and humanitarian relief organization, Project HOPE is on the ground in Florida to deliver “medical supplies, hygiene kits, food and clean water.” Their emergency teams have been “traveling to shelters and health clinics” to provide supplies and prioritizing “vulnerable populations — including those who are elderly, disabled, or with pre-existing conditions.” You can donate to Project HOPE online.