Here are some suggestions on how to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy both here in the United States and in the Caribbean.
1. Give blood. The Red Cross had to temporarily close 100 centers because of the storm, creating a shortage of blood. Donating today would be an immediate gift.
Bonfils coordinates blood drives locally around Castle Rock. You can see and register for upcoming drives here (and there is one at St Francis on November 4): . The phone number for Bonfils is 303-363-2300. You can also give blood at Children’s Hospital and Presbyterian/St Luke’s..
The Mile High Red Cross chapter contact information is: (303) 722-7474. Address: 444 Sherman St, Denver, CO 80203.
2. Support the agencies directly providing food and shelter to the victims, such as the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. If you know of more, please let us know. Other agencies specialize in aid to those who are particularly vulnerable, such as children (Save the Children and WorldVision) and animals (The Humane Society of America.) Groups that have already started putting together and dispatching emergency kits, food and medical supplies include AmeriCares, Direct Relief International and Feeding America. Those who have put teams to work in the field include Team Rubicon and Samaritan’s Purse. In the Caribbean, Operation USA and the International Medical Corps have volunteers in place lending a hand to the needy, according to news reports.
3. Keep everyone affected in your thoughts and prayers. Obviously, storm damage does not go away overnight. In Haiti, 370,000 people still live in tent cities three years after the devastating earthquake that took so many lives and destroyed the country. Now, between the tropical storm in August and Sandy, their crops have been ruined and a cholera epidemic is threatening those who still struggle to simply subsist in the tent cities. In the Northeast United States, six million people are without power as I write this. There are 18 deaths that we know of. Over 13,000 flights have been cancelled, so countless people are stranded. Businesses and schools are temporarily shuttered, and some small businesses will be critically affected by the damage. The New Jersey shoreline has been devastated, and no one knows how long it will take and how much it will cost to rebuild.
4. Keep yourself safe. Watch this video for our own winter weather: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knLErFziUl8&feature=youtu.be. Most of it seems obvious to us, experienced and hardy Coloradoans that we are. But I suspect many of us have let our disaster kits lapse on occasion. Perhaps we’ve left without enough layers – or even without a coat – on a hasty last minute trip to the grocery store before a looming storm. Please take a minute to make sure you’re ready for winter — and for whatever else might surprise us when we least expect it.
Ready Colorado (http://www.readycolorado.com/) was created by a group of public and private companies that came together to help Colorado residents make sure we are ready in case of a natural or man-made disaster. Perhaps you’ll find it of use.
For example, here are some handy tips on winterizing your house to save money and keep you warm.
Here are some tips on building a disaster kit.
And, here is a guide to creating the entire disaster plan.