The aftermath of natural disasters often breaks our hearts and many people look for ways to help those affected. There are certainly more than enough opportunities for people who want to give back to society, especially during these times. When whole communities are left without the basic necessities, anything you can do is greatly appreciated.

Donate cash

This is the most common way people help the victims of natural disasters and with good reason. No matter where the event took place, it’s easiest to send money and let area leaders determine where those funds are best distributed. Organizations like the United Way, Salvation Army, and American Red Cross are always looking for monetary donations to help the victims of natural disasters. It’s also a great way to help out since it can be hard to know exactly what supplies to send and where or what’s really needed in the area. Just make sure the organization you’re donating to is legitimate!

Get others to donate cash

If you’re interested in doing more, you can volunteer to help raise money for an organization. There are a few ways you can do this. You can ask family, friends, or co-workers for donations directly, or you might set up a donation jar in your workplace. If you work with the public and your manager is agreeable, you might set the donation jar out where customers can contribute. You can even start a fundraiser if you feel up to the challenge.

Donate your blood

Here is another way to help, especially if you feel cash is too impersonal. One of the biggest needs in any state of emergency is blood, which is used to help save lives. Particularly if you have a rare blood type, this can be the best thing you can do. People are often injured during natural disasters and hospitals can lose their blood supplies, so go ahead and donate.

Collect supplies

You can organize a food drive or offer to collect other needed items, such as clothing and incidentals. Be sure to check with organizations accepting these kinds of donations, because some items may be rejected. Otherwise, collecting necessities can help families cover their immediate needs, while they try to rebuild their homes and communities.

Volunteer to work

If you’re near the affected area, you might be more interested in getting your hands dirty. Communities hit by natural disasters are always looking for help, whether that involves passing out information pamphlets or helping to clear debris. In fact, volunteer opportunities in these areas are virtually limitless.

While you may feel helpless in watching events unfold on the news, there is much you can do to help. Contact organizations or the local governments in affected areas to find out more about what you can do. No matter how you help, your efforts will be appreciated.