Lifestyle

How To Help the Victims of Hurricane Laura in Louisiana

Here are four easy ways to chip in.

It’s been five days since Hurricane Laura made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana. Its winds, estimated at 150 miles-per-hour, and storm surge devastated parts of southwestern Louisiana and southeastern Texas. One of the areas hit the hardest by Laura was Lake Charles, a city along Louisiana’s Gulf Coast. 

As of August 30, 14 people have died and thousands of southwest Louisiana residents remained without electricity as a result of the powerful storm. And to think, all of this happened during a pandemic and just two days before the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. As a native New Orleanian, seeing the aftermath of Laura’s devastation has been difficult. Roofs torn off homes, power lines down and blocking roadways, flooded streets. It unfortunately felt so eerily similar to seeing Katrina’s destruction from a Houston hotel where my family and I took refuge in 2005. 

While we’re all still living with COVID-19 and many people are still unemployed, there are so many victims of Hurricane Laura who need our help right now. For those who can, donating money and volunteering your time are just a couple ways you can help citizens in need. You can start with these four ways.

Help provide food, shelter, and medical care to people in need

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, members of The Cajun Navy Relief and Rescue used their boats to rescue citizens from flooded areas. Fifteen years later, they are still using their vessels to rescue those in need. Donations will go toward some immediate necessities like non-perishable food, tents, chairs, ice freezers, coolers, water, burners and propane.

Other nonprofit organizations, like The Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana, will use donated funds to provide disaster grants that will pay for food, shelter, medicine, and any other necessities, while the Second Harvest Food Bank will use donations to provide meals. The Southwest Louisiana Center for Health Services is accepting donations that will help the center provide health care services for those impacted by Hurricane Laura. 

Save the Children -- an organization that reaches America’s most vulnerable youth through early education, literacy, health, and disaster preparedness programs -- is accepting donations to go toward essential items like hygiene kits and diapers.

Volunteer your time to these organizations that support Hurricane Laura victims

The United Way of Southwest Louisiana has a variety of ways people can help. For donations, text LAURA to 40403 or visit the organization’s website. To volunteer your time, fill out this form.

Team Rubicon and the American Red Cross are also seeking monetary donations and volunteers to assist in Hurricane Laura relief. The Red Cross is currently not accepting donations of supplies, food, and clothes due to COVID-19. To make a monetary donation instead, call 800-RED-CROSS, text the word LAURA to 90999 or visit the organization’s website.

Donate money to help victims get the legal assistance they need

In the wake of a natural disaster, many citizens’ immediate needs involve food and shelter. In the long term, they may face legal issues during the recovery process. Acadiana Legal Service Corporation is accepting donations to help provide disaster legal aid to Hurricane Laura survivors. A donation to ALSC increases access to justice for thousands of vulnerable people in Louisiana.

Provide funding to animal rescues and relief

In the aftermath of Hurricane Laura, our furry friends are in need as well. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) has set up an animal rescue relief fund. The funds will be used to provide supplies and necessary equipment to care for pets and livestock. So far, LDAF has raised just over $2,600 of its $30,000 goal. Let’s help them meet their goal.

Kevinisha Walker is a content creator and social media strategist from New Orleans with a passion for telling stories about people in underserved communities. The residents of her home state have been on her mind and in her heart.