Here to help: Give to support hurricane, earthquake relief

Posted August 27
Updated 8:36 a.m. Thursday

In Houston, Hurricane Harvey brought unprecedented floods. Hurricane Irma traced a path of power outages across the Caribbean and the southeastern United States. And just this week, Hurricane Maria blacked out Puerto Rico while an earthquake claimed hundreds of lives in Mexico City.

Our first reaction is to reach out. There are a variety of ways you can help.

Cash is best

Financial donations are the easy and quick way to make a difference, allowing aid organizations to direct help where and how it is needed most.

According to the United States Agency for International Development, "Financial contributions allow professional relief organizations to purchase exactly what is most urgently needed by disaster survivors, when it is needed. Cash donations allow relief supplies to be purchased near the disaster site, avoiding delays, and steep transportation and logistical costs that can encumber material donations. Some commodities, particularly food, can almost always be purchased locally – even after devastating emergencies and in famine situations."

The American Red Cross has launched a massive relief response after hurricanes Harvey and Irma, offering shelter, food and financial aid to those in need.

In Mexico, the Red Cross is helping with cleanup, rescue and recovery after the recent series of earthquakes.

  • Visit or
  • Call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-437-7669) to designate your donation for a specific purpose


The Salvation Army is serving disaster survivors of hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas, Florida and Georgia while also preparing for the impacts of Hurricane Maria.

In Mexico, The Salvation Army World Service Office, is leading relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts in the region.

  • Text STORM to 51555 to receive a donation link.
  • Donate by phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769)
  • Mail checks to: The Salvation Army PO BOX 1959 Atlanta, GA 30301.


The United Way has created specific relief funds to support the local communities of Texas and the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Harvey and the Southeast United States and Caribbean after Hurricane Irma. Donate online or text UWFLOOD to 41444.

AmeriCares is distributing water, aid and emergency medicine and supplies in disaster zones. Every $10 donation results in $200 of aid.

Unicef had designated funds for both earthquake and Hurricane Irma relief. Donations can be made via PayPal, debit or credit card.

Save the Children has created a special fund to support child-focused relief efforts after Mexico City's second major earthquake in as many weeks.

North Carolina connections

Samaritan's Purse is air-lifting emergency items including blankets, shelter plastic, hygiene kits, and water purification units – enough for 2,000 families – to the Caribbean island of St. Martin, where Hurricane Irma did extensive infrastructure and building damage and water and food supplies are dwindling. Additional emergency flights are planned in the days to come for additional hard-hits areas of the Caribbean.

Baptists on Mission will also be collecting donations to send to Harvey relief efforts. The organization says 100 percent of designated gifts will be used to help relieve flood victims.


Communities band together to support survivors

The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund of Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

The Florida Disaster Fund is the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they respond and recover from natural disasters. 100 p[rcent of funds raised will go toward disaster-related response and recovery; there are no overhead costs.

Volunteer Florida Foundation is coordinating volunteer opportunities in response to Hurricane Irma.


The ASPCA is coordinating evacuation and care for animals moved out of the paths of the natural disasters to emergency shelters.

Walmart is matching customer donations 2 to 1 with cash and product donations of up to $10 million to support American Red Cross disaster relief. Walmart will provide necessities like water, infant formula, diapers, underwear and personal hygiene products to those in shelters and will increase comfort in shelters by providing TVs, DVDs, games and stuffed animals for children and healthy snacks, such as fresh fruit.

Triangle gathers tons of donations for hurricane-impacted areas

In a day-long "food-raising" drive Sept. 20, Triangle residents donated more than 21 tons of food, personal products and cleaning supplies to be distributed to areas in need.

WRAL-TV partnered with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC in a day-long donation drive for items to be delivered to food banks in Texas and Florida.

WRAL, Food Bank collect food for hurricane relief efforts

Donate through Sunday

The drive continues through the weekend in Rocky Mount, where several businesses at Rocky Mount Mills, 1151 Falls Road, will accept donations during their normal operating hours through Sunday. Koi Pond Brewing Company, TBC West: Tacos & Taproom, Tipsy Tomato, Ramblers Bottle Shop and The Battle House all are participating in the donation drive. Find locations, hours on the Rocky Mount Mills website

The most-needed items after a natural disaster are:

  • canned goods -- fruit, vegetables, soup, beans, meat and fish, especially those in pop-top cans
  • cereal, oats and oatmeal
  • whole grain pasta and rice
  • peanut butter
  • beverages -- powdered milk, tea, coffee or cocoa, juice or drink mixes
  • hygiene items -- toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, shampoo
  • household cleaning items -- laundry detergent and bleach, sponges, trash bags
  • paper products -- toilet paper and paper towels


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