How to help those impacted by Hurricane Idalia
Hurricane Idalia struck Florida with extreme winds and storm surge, damaging homes and knocking out power. Here's how you can help the people impacted by the storm.
AccuWeather spoke with the Red Cross live on Aug. 31, learning about the organization’s efforts across multiple states following Hurricane Idalia.
In the wake of Hurricane Idalia, thousands of people are still picking up the pieces of what remains, and 125,000 customers were still without power as of Friday morning.
Here are several organizations that are offering services to victims of Hurricane Idalia and accepting donations.
The American Red Cross
AccuWeather spoke with The American Red Cross live on Aug. 31, learning about the organization's efforts across multiple states following Hurricane Idalia. Spokesperson Evan Peterson told AccuWeather's Geoff Cornish that victims' stories of damage have varied from describing light damage to severe, but said, "We've heard stories from people saying it's a total loss."
The organization has 10 shelters still open across northern Florida and Georgia, which can be located via a map on its website. The Red Cross recommends bringing prescription medication, extra clothing, bedding, hygiene supplies, important documents and, if needed, items for children such as diapers, formula and toys for those staying in shelter. Pets brought to the shelter may have to be housed in a different location, depending on the situation.
Donors looking to support people affected by Hurricane Ian can donate to The American Red Cross here.
Layne Padgett, 17, felt relief when rescuing his beloved cat, Muffin, after his family’s home was flooded by the storm surge caused by Hurricane Idalia in Steinhatchee, Florida. (Scott Dalton/American Red Cross)
AccuWeather Senior On-Air Meteorologist Geoff Cornish interviewed William Porter, director of Operations Support at Team Rubicon, on the AccuWeather Network on Thursday. Porter explained that they approach disaster relief a little differently, first ensuring that other disaster relief organizations can reach affected areas.
"One of the first things we did was activate our route clearance teams... to open up roadways for first responders and the general population," Porter explained.
Team Rubicon is a veteran-led humanitarian organization that serves global communities before, during and after disasters and crises. Its donation page can be found here.
As communities start picking up the pieces after Idalia, this veteran-led group is on the ground to help both families and first responders.
Habitat for Humanity
The mission statement for Habitat for Humanity states, "We believe that safe, reliable shelter provides the foundation from which all of things can begin to reemerge during the relief and rebuilding process." Disaster relief is just one way that Habitat for Humanity helps families.
Through Habitat’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Response program, they are able to provide shelter assistance, education, training, and partnerships to affected individuals who find themselves in "unthinkable situations" like many experienced following Idalia's disastrous rampage. Donations can be submitted to Habitat for Humanity at this link.
World Central Kitchen
A press release on World Central Kitchen's (WCK) website states, "Despite slamming into a sparsely populated stretch of Florida’s western coast, Hurricane Idalia caused extensive damage in several small communities. WCK's teams spread across western Florida ahead of the storm and began providing sandwiches, fruit, and water and assessing food needs immediately after the storm passed. Our teams have set up operations centers and are working with restaurant and food truck partners to begin distributing warm, nourishing meals as soon as we find pockets of need."
Founded by celebrity chef José Andrés in 2010 after a catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, the organization employs local chefs and volunteers to cook hot meals for people impacted by natural disasters. WCK has served millions of meals, including in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017 and in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian in 2019.
Jewell Baggett stands beside a Christmas decoration she recovered from the wreckage of her mother’s home, as she searches for anything salvageable from the trailer home her grandfather had acquired in 1973 and built multiple additions on to over the decades, in Horseshoe Beach, Fla., after the passage of Hurricane Idalia, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
The United Way of Florida Disaster Recovery Fund is currently directing donations toward responding to relief following Hurricane Idalia. Any donations intended for a specific location or county can be noted on the donation page.
If you want your donation to feel more personal, GoFundMe has a list of verified GoFundMe fundraisers related to Hurricane Idalia, consisting mainly of individual families looking for help in rebuilding and recovering. The fundraising platform also has a centralized fundraiser associated with each hurricane that will distribute donations directly to verified GoFundMe fundraisers and nonprofits providing aid related to the hurricane. The centralized fundraiser for Hurricane Idalia victims can be found here.
Project HOPE is an organization that works to provide care for evacuees and supports local healthcare systems through recovery, with a focus on older adults, people with disabilities, and people with pre-existing conditions. According to its website, Project HOPE’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) arrived within 12 hours of the storm departing the western coast of Florida and delivered an initial procurement of hygiene items including diapers, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, and other essential items to the nonprofit Palms Medical Group in Live Oak, Florida.
Lorena Torres cleans up debris from Hurricane Idalia at the Faraway Inn, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023, in Cedar Key, Fla. Idalia made landfall early Wednesday morning along Florida's panhandle. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies
The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies is a disability-led organization that focuses on equity for people with disabilities, older adults, and people with access and functional needs from disaster preparation to recovery response. The organization hosts a hotline that acts as a hub to connect people with the resources available in their area and has a history of partnering with agencies such as FEMA and charities like The American Red Cross.
People with disabilities and older adults are two to four times more likely to die or be seriously injured during a disaster than people without disabilities, according to a 2017 study. The study attributed the disproportionate rate of injury and death to poor planning, inadequate accessibility, and the misconception that people with disabilities and older adults are more vulnerable because of their diagnoses or age.
Red Cross disaster responder Dariana Molina assesses damage caused by Hurricane Idalia in Perry, Florida (Scott Dalton/American Red Cross)
Convoy of Hope
Consisting of a team of roughly 20 people and local volunteers, the Missouri-based disaster relief organization Convoy of Hope distributed aid in Perry, Florida, as Idalia moved away. Survivors are receiving food, water, and relief supplies that can be difficult to come by in the aftermath of the storm.
The charity often works alongside local churches, which provide volunteers and offer a connection to the impacted communities.
The Virginia-based disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization Mercy Chefs has deployed to Live Oak, Florida, in response to Hurricane Idalia, noting that it has been over 125 years since that local area has seen a major hurricane landfall.
TARPON SPRINGS, FLORIDA - AUGUST 30: Makatla Ritchter (L) and her mother, Keiphra Line wade through flood waters after having to evacuate their home when the flood waters from Hurricane Idalia inundated it on August 30, 2023 in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Hurricane Idalia is hitting the Big Bend area of Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Its website explains, "Our team is fully equipped with our largest mobile kitchen and a fully staffed team ready to serve thousands of hot nutritious meals per day to hurricane victims, search and rescue teams, first responders, and volunteers. Florida feels like family after all the disasters we’ve responded to, and with your support, we are ready to show them hope in the form of a meal."
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