Unfortunately, it seems more and more common to hear about natural disasters. The world is more closely connected than ever before and the population has rapidly increased, leading to people living in places where few people lived before. As we hear about these natural disasters in the news, most people’s initial reaction is a desire to help the people affected by the tragedy. Recently, Texas was battered by Hurricane Harvey and then Hurricane Irma hit Florida and the Caribbean. Since these devastating events, people are curious how to help. For any natural disaster, there are plenty of ways you can help out and it’s important you stay informed on them in order to help people heal from these horrific events.

Organize a fundraiser

A great place to start if you seriously want to help out after a disaster is by organizing a fundraiser. Choose an organization you’d like to support that’s helping the people affected by the disaster (make sure it’s a legitimate charity) and then plan a fundraiser. You can do a lot of good on your own, but finding other people who want to donate makes an even larger impact.

Donate to an organization

If you don’t think you have the time or resources to organize an entire fundraiser, simply donate to an organization you feel comfortable sending money. Donate whatever you can; immediately following disasters, money usually does the most help as opposed to sending an abundance of material items.

Send food, water, and other items

While money is usually the best resource for people in need and won’t be wasted like a surplus of unneeded items, there are times when something material is needed. Often, food and water is necessary after a natural disaster because it’s in short supply. Sometimes, other items like clothes, diapers, or medicine is needed, but only send items if a specific charity is asking for them. All too often, too many items are sent and they must be disposed of and end up helping no one.

Volunteer yourself

If you live near an area where a disaster recently struck or are able to get to the afflicted community, take time to volunteer and help out in what ways you can. Many organizations are searching for volunteers and could use the help, even if it’s something simple like handing out supplies to those seeking shelter.

Donate blood

Another particularly common need following a natural disaster is the need for people to donate blood. There are often a lot of injuries after a disaster and functioning hospitals all too often run out of blood. If you’re healthy and able to donate blood, it won’t take long to do it!

Raise awareness

In general, a final way to help victims of a disaster is by simply raising awareness. Talk to people about what happened and share useful resources on how to get involved in relief efforts. If you’re going to volunteer, ask others if they want to join you or challenge someone to match a donation. The more people know how to help those in need, the better.

While many of these things are particularly important when a disaster first hits, everything isn’t fixed in a few weeks. Recovery from natural disasters often takes months and years, so continually help out those affected.