Hurricane Irma is no more, but the response and recovery to the devastation the storm left behind in Florida and in the Caribbean is fully underway.
The damage to some island nations in particular is difficult to comprehend. The small island of Barbuda had 90 percent of its structures damaged or destroyed, according to the Washington Post. Anguilla saw similar damage to its electricity infrastructure. On St. Martin, 70 percent of the homes had been damaged or destroyed, leaving tens of thousands in need of public shelter. A million people were without power in Puerto Rico, and millions more were without electricity in Florida, where the fiscal damage has not yet been calculated.
If you’re wondering what you can do, one easy way to pitch in is to give money to one or more of the many charities involved with the response and recovery. Here are some suggestions and a little guidance if you’re not sure where to start.
This ProPublica article about giving after a disaster is worth reading in its entirety, but it makes a couple of key points to keep in mind:
- Do your own research before giving to any group.
- Groups with strong local ties to their community can sometimes be the best option.
- You have a right to demand accountability of the groups you give to.
Vox’s Dylan Matthews also reviewed some good rules to follow whenever you’re giving to charity.
Now, if you’re looking for some groups to send money or other support to as they respond to Irma, here are some options. Where applicable, we’ve included a rating from Charity Navigator or CharityWatch, independent groups that evaluate how well organizations perform financially and how efficiently they use the donations they receive.
American Red Cross: Usually the first group people think of when giving after a disaster. It says it is providing shelters for those displaced by Irma, and it has thousands of volunteers on the ground. You can give here. (3/4 stars from Charity Navigator.)
(A series of reports by ProPublica have raised questions as to how Red Cross uses its donations for emergency relief. You can find some of those stories here. Journalist Jonathan Katz also weighed in on the issue in an interview with Vox’s Sean Illing.)
Salvation Army: The Christian charity is emphasizing its intentions to help with long-term recovery. You can give here.
Americares: The nonprofit focused on medicine and health is seeking to provide emergency medical supplies and other basic resources to first responders and others. You can give here. (4/4 stars from Charity Navigator.)
ConPRmetidos: The Puerto Rican organization, focused on public-private partnership, is aiming to raise $150,000 for relief and recovery. You can give here.
Volunteer Florida: The state-based group is accepting volunteers and donations. Learn more here.
United Way of Miami-Dade: One of the major local nonprofits that will be working on Irma recovery. You can give here.
South Florida Wildlife Center: The group is centering its efforts on animals affected by the storm. You can give here.
Brigid’s Crossing Foundation: An animal shelter in Naples, Florida. You can give here.
Check out Charity Navigator’s Hurricane Irma page if you’d like to see more options.