5 Ways to Help During a Natural Disaster


5 Ways to Help During a Natural Disaster
Like many of you, this week we have been focused on the path of Hurricane Florence. The storm is expected to impact millions with far-reaching destruction, catastrophic flooding, damaging wind gusts and historic rainfall.
To those already impacted by Florence or in the path of the storm, our prayers are with your family and community during this difficult time, especially in the Carolinas.
To those who want to help, we want to share a few ideas how your community can quickly organize and respond when a natural disaster occurs or in the weeks of rebuilding to come. In less than 5 minutes, you can create a free online meal schedule, and invite others to participate.

5 Ways to Help During a Natural Disaster

1. Care for first responders
While most avoid the storms as best as possible, first responders like the National Guard, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, rescue crews, EMTs and many other volunteers are working over-time in stressful conditions. Added to that they are often far away from home and a home-cooked meal.
Both TakeThemAMeal.com and PerfectPotluck.com were used during Hurricane Harvey of 2017 to care for first responders. If you would like to coordinate a one-day event like a potluck meal check out PerfectPotluck.com. TakeThemAMeal.com is an ongoing meal-scheduling tool that would be helpful if you are providing meals for several days in a row.

5 Ways to Help During a Natural Disaster

2. Organize a group meal or supplies for an emergency shelter
Families who take refuge in the safety of an emergency shelter might not have had time to prepare. Exhaustion and stress are high, food might be limited and evacuees could use some comfort and encouragement in the form of a home-cooked meal or much-needed supplies.
Create a group meal schedule on PerfectPotluck.com, invite others to participate and watch the meal schedule quickly fill up. You can even include a category for volunteers to help serve and clean up. We will even send reminder emails on your behalf.
If supplies are needed, you can use PerfectPotluck.com to coordinate non-food items too. Just create your categories in minutes such as pillows, blankets, toilet paper, diapers and baby wipes, towels and washcloths, drinking water, deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste etc. Then, invite others to participate and drop off items at a designated location and time.

5 Ways to Help During a Natural Disaster

3. Create a meal schedule for a displaced family
Our meal planning tool has been used when a family is unable to return home and needs to stay in a hotel or other temporary housing. Families often don't have access to a full kitchen. The loss of a home is immense, and the uncertainty of the storm's impact on your finances, home and community is disheartening. Being able to walk alongside someone and provide meals gives them a glimmer of hope. Be that glimmer.
Cooking for your own family is sometimes challenging. Add to that extended family or friends who are displaced from Hurricane Florence and staying in your home. Suddenly you have a lot more people to feed. Our website has been used in times such as this --- we have seen churches and friends rally around families who have opened their homes to others.

5 Ways to Help During a Natural Disaster

4. Gather supplies for an animal shelter
Natural disasters don't just displace people. Animal shelters in the path of Hurricane Florence must be evacuated and unfortunately some pet owners leave behind their animals. Shelters often become over crowded and filled to capacity. Pets should be considered in evacuation plans so families and pets are safe together.
During a natural disaster shelters are often in urgent need of dog and cat food (canned and dry), clumping cat litter, spray cleaners, paper towels, dog and cat treats, volunteers and those willing to foster and transport animals to other shelters. Consider using PerfectPotluck.com to coordinate a food and supply drive for an animal shelter.

5 Ways to Help During a Natural Disaster

5. Coordinate meals for work crews and volunteers
After a natural disaster the cleanup and rebuilding can take months and even years. Organizations like the American Red Cross and Mennonite Disaster Service are often on-site and vital to supporting long-term recovery efforts. My extended family has long supported Mennonite Disaster Service and its mission.
Volunteers often work long, hard hours and are far away from home. Organizing meals for a week or two can provide much-needed support. The volunteers can then focus on the cleanup, repair and rebuilding of homes. In less than 5 minutes, you can create a free online meal schedule and share it with others. You can even use PerfectPotluck.com to coordinate non-food items for a work crew such as tools and needed construction equipment and project supplies.
The sense of community is inspiring to see as others respond especially during a natural disaster. Be that glimmer of hope --- be the light that others need during a difficult time!

Read other recent articles by Lindsey Shantz:

Back to all blog posts

Adina & Maureen
Adina & Maureen

Welcome! We're thrilled you stopped by. Our own joys and sorrows have taught us that a well-timed meal delivered by a friend is one of the best gifts imaginable. In this space, we share our favorite recipes to take to friends, meal-taking tips, and other ways to care for those who are dear to you.

Subscribe to the TTAM Blog...


Helpful Posts

Recent Posts...

Visit TakeThemAMeal.com's profile on Pinterest.

Coordinating a meal for a group?
Try PerfectPotluck.com