The feeling of helplessness many people have as they watch the images from Hurricane Sandy and Athena, the Nor'easter, is one reason I started volunteering with the Red Cross several years ago. I'm amazed it has the infrastructure to shelter, feed and comfort thousands of people at once - and the emotional strength to go into devastated areas again and again. Roughly 50 Georgia Red Cross volunteers, 24 of them from metro Atlanta, have headed north to help in the relief effort.
I'm also impressed by how easy the Red Cross and its partners make it to give:
- PayPal, iTunes, Amazon Payments and Google Check-out have "Donate" buttons.
- Many retailers let you donate or round up a purchase.
- Even airlines and hotels have options - a full list is here.
- Donate a percentage of a sale on eBay.
- Hold, or participate in, a fundraiser.
- Some entertainers will donate proceeds from their shows.
- Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10.
- Visit the website to donate, or learn about long-term opportunities.
- Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)
- Use the free Red Cross Hurricane App.
By the way, the app does a lot of other things, too, including helping find shelters and notifying you of warnings and watches in your area. It can also post messages on social media telling your family and friends you're safe. If you're trapped, its siren and strobe light should attract attention.
Even if you already donated, you can use social media to show your support. Red Cross is on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. It frequently posts safety tips as well as amazing photos of the damage and the recovery efforts which you can post and share.
Also check out your local chapter. In my case that's Atlanta, which is also on Facebook and Twitter. Connecting now helps keep the organization - and the people it serves - in mind. And of course if you are motivated to volunteer in the future, visit www.redcross.org.
Disclosure: Terri Thornton is a Decatur business owner who is also a Red Cross public affairs volunteer. This post originally appeared on http://thorntoncomm.blogspot.com.