“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Every year, devastating natural disasters impact millions of people’s lives, and it can feel overwhelming not knowing where to start or how to help those in need. One of the latest natural disasters is Hurricane Ian – which is sadly taking lives and displacing people from their homes in Florida and other states.
As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors and to help those in need – not because we have to, but because we should want to. And, as a mission trip organization, Mission Discovery has received a question many people are wondering – Will there be a Hurricane Ian mission trip to Florida?
We can only love and give to others out of the love and abundance that Christ has already given us. So, what can we practically do to help those impacted by Hurricane Ian (and other natural disasters)?
One of the most important things we can do is pray. When disaster strikes, we all tend to blurt out, “I’ll be praying for you,” but as Christians, we know the true power of prayer and the One to whom we are praying. Everything happens in the Lord’s timing, but He definitely hears our prayers and wants us to come to Him with our requests, fears, and difficulties.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:16
It is important to know what the specific needs are of people in crisis. We can be more empathetic, compassionate, and aware when we research and educate ourselves on what is happening. Of course, consider your own mental health, and if watching interviews or reading articles might be triggering to you, then do not participate. But reading personal stories reminds us that it could just as easily be one of us in that situation.
If you or someone you know has been affected by Hurricane Ian, you can find many helpful resources at usa.gov including financial assistance, the latest updates regarding Hurricane Ian, mental health crisis lines, disability services, information if you are a veteran, and more.
One way that you can make a difference is through donation. There are plenty of established organizations with the resources, volunteers, and connections to provide immediate relief. The following are trusted organizations that you can donate to:
Florida Disaster Fund –
https://www.volunteerflorida.org/donatefdf/ According to VolunteerFlorida.org, “The Florida Disaster Fund is the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster.” You can donate directly on the website, and for Hurricane Ian, any credit card fees for donating have been waived.
Farm Share Florida –
https://www.farmshare.org Farm Share is an organization based out of Florida that has been operating for over 30 years that is essentially a food bank on-the-go. Their goal is to deliver food from farms (that would otherwise go to waste) to those struggling with food insecurity. They started hurricane relief and food aid on September 29th and have already “delivered 31 semis and 8 box trucks of water, food and disaster relief supplies. This represents 1.4 million pounds of aide”.
Salvation Army –
https://salvationarmyflorida.org/hurricane-ian/ Salvation Army has a section on their website specifically for Hurricane Ian relief. There are many ways to donate, including a number that you can text to donate $10, which instantly adds to your phone bill. They also keep up-to-date numbers of items they have been able to provide. So far:
- Served Meals: 73,563
- Drinks: 62,003
- Snacks: 18,319
- Comfort / Hygiene kits: 713
- Food Boxes: 169
- Ready-to-eat meals: 3,090
- Cases of water: 2,410
- Infant supplies: 344
American Red Cross –
https://www.redcross.org American Red Cross states on their website that they respond to an emergency every 8 minutes, and that 95% of their disaster relief workers are volunteers. Not only can you donate on their website, but they have great educational resources for learning more about hurricanes, how to be prepared, and how to best support others.
Convoy of Hope –
https://convoyofhope.org Founded in 1994, Convoy of Hope is a faith-based organization that partners with churches and other organizations to help people in poverty, those affected by natural disasters and food insecurity, and much more. They have daily updates on their blog along with videos highlighting people’s stories due to Hurricane Ian. This truly helps to see what your donations will go towards.
Project HOPE –
https://www.projecthope.org Project HOPE works with healthcare workers to provide long-term solutions to current problems. According to their website, “In disaster, crisis and beyond, HOPE is there: providing direct health care services, equipping clinics and hospitals, training local health care workers, and delivering solutions that help people access the health care services they need.”
For even more information about volunteering or donating, you can visit our website: https://www.missiondiscovery.org/news/volunteering-times-disaster/
“You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.” 2 Corinthians 9:7-10