How To Help the World When You Feel Helpless

If you’re anything me, you’re inundated with news on a daily, sometimes even hourly, basis. Lately, it seems like it’s one tragedy after another. From the various hurricanes that have hit around the world, to horrific acts of terrorism like the gun violence we heard about in Las Vegas on October 1.

It’s easy to fall into a pit of despair when surrounded by this news; to feel like you’re helpless, and that there’s no way you can possibly help those affected. The good news is: you CAN help! Whether you’ve got money or time to donate, phone calls to make, or can physically help in person… you CAN make a difference.

(Side note: during times of crisis, many people will offer ‘thoughts and prayers’ to those affected. While I can respect these gestures, and understand why people do this, in the end — thoughts and prayers aren’t going to help victims of a flood regain their livelihood or find a place to get food RIGHT NOW, or lead to stricter gun control in the United States or worldwide. So, yes, if you feel the need, offer your thoughts and prayers — but then get on your feet, on your computer, in your bank account, wherever, and offer something else.)

Help Victims of the Hurricanes

  • If you’re local to Texas: donate blood here.
  • Donate diapers to the Texas Diaper Bank: 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, Texas 78238
  • Donate money through CNN-vetted organizations helping those in Texas: click here.
  • Donate money/food/etc. to any food bank. You can usually search Google for food banks in an affected area!
  • Read this article from NPR for more direct links to food banks and other service organizations helping those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
  • Locally, find a collection drive in your area, and donate what you can – money, time, goods.
  • Support United for Puerto Rico and the One America appeal.

Help Those Who Need Clean Water

Did you know Flint, Michigan still does not have clean water?

Help Victims of the Shooting in Vegas

    • If you’re local, donate blood at the Labor Health & Welfare Clinic, 7135 W. Sahara.
    • Support gun safety legislation. Text ACT to 64433 to get started.

Help With Your Phone

  • Check out this list of 10 smartphone apps that support charity. Granted, some of these are more “awareness-raising” apps than anything, but some like Charity Miles, allow you to incorporate charitable giving into your already daily routines.
  • If you’re in the United States, find out who your state senator is. And CALL them! Ask for things like stricter gun control, health care, Net Neutrality, hurricane relief victim funds…. etc. If you’re phone-shy or are having trouble figuring out what to say, Google is your best friend! With a quick search, you can usually find a script that can help.
  • Be an online activist! Get on your social networks and speak out. Share donation links. Use the hashtags. Spread (accurate!) information.
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