Hurricane Relief: How you can help

In the wake of two devastating hurricanes, millions of people in the Caribbean, Florida and Texas are in need of help. Many here in the greater Kalamazoo area are wondering what they can do. 

Financial donations to trusted charitable organizations are a good way to lend a hand, but donations of time, talents and goods are needed too.

The Greater Houston Community Foundation has created a fund to help with relief efforts in Texas. They also have information about how to donate supplies and volunteer. 

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has compiled this list of needs and organizations providing relief efforts in the Caribbean and Florida. 

Critical needs in the Caribbean

  • Shelter
  • Debris removal
  • Water and Sanitation (WASH) and repair of water and sewage systems
  • Infrastructure and network repairs
  • Medical needs, in particular, concerns that cholera will escalate in Haiti and concerns that those injured in the storm will have exacerbated conditions due to delayed care

Critical needs in the U.S.

  • Shelter and housing
  • Power restoration
  • Medical needs (47 hospitals closed in Florida and Georgia; numerous other medical facilities closed and/or evacuated)

Donors and Funds

  • Broward Cares is a strategic collaboration of the Community Foundation of Broward, the Jewish Federation of Broward County, and United Way of Broward County. The three organizations will mutually collect donations and provide assistance for recovery and rebuilding through this collaborative disaster response initiative.
  • Center for Disaster Philanthropy has launched the CDP Hurricane Irma Recovery Fund to focus support on medium and long-term rebuilding needs.
  • Community Foundation of Collier County, in collaboration with the City of Naples and Collier County Emergency Management, Collier County Sheriff’s Office, City of Naples Police Department, Marco Island Police Department and the United Way of Collier County, has launched the Collier Comes Together Disaster Relief Fund.
  • Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Marlin Counties has launched the Hurricane Assistance Fund.
  • Community Foundation of Sarasota has launched the Hurricane Irma Relief Fund.
  • The Miami Foundation launched the Irma Relief Fund, the Irma Caribbean Strong Relief Fund, and the Irma Community Recovery Fund.


  • American Red Cross has mobilized relief efforts from the U.S. Virgin Islands through Florida and the mid-Atlantic region. Damage assessments are ongoing in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and activated shelters in the area.
  • Americares positioned insulin at a partner health clinic in central Florida ahead of the storm and has additional stocks of medicine ready to ship as soon as the hurricane passes. Its emergency response team has been in contact with more than 80 partner organizations and health clinics across the state with offers of assistance.
  • CARE teams are conducting early response and assessment in Cuba and Haiti.
  • Catholic Charities has emergency response teams in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, as well as other affected areas with pre-positioned relief items, to include tarps, shelter repair kits, and hygiene and kitchen kits. Cash transfer programming systems are ready and CRS will work with Caritas partners in the northern districts to conduct rapid assessments.
  • Direct Relief has already prepositioned emergency medical supplies at 14 locations across Florida, ready to be used by clinicians as needed. The packs contain enough medicines and supplies to treat 100 people for 3-5 days. Direct Relief has a long history of supporting healthcare facilities in the state and has shipped more than $46 million in medical aid since 2009. Direct Relief is also working with partners in Puerto Rico and Haiti.
  • Feeding America has food banks across the southeast preparing for the needs in their respective communities to spike. Food banks and state associations in areas that may be impacted have been working together to access additional resources, pre-stage product, and coordinate volunteers. In Puerto Rico, Feeding America is supporting network member Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico as they provide food and supplies to impacted households.
  • Habitat for Humanity is assessing shelter and housing needs throughout the affected area and preparing to respond with its’ chapters in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The initial response will include emergency toolkits, housing repair kits and cleaning kits.
  • Healthcare Ready has activated Rx Open, shelter accomodations, and other resources.
  • International Federation of the Red Cross has mobilized throughout the affected area of the Caribbean to begin relief efforts.
  • International Medical Corps is responding in Haiti to respond to cholera cases and is exploring other ways to assist in the Bahamas and other islands. IMC has also deployed a team to Florida to assist in the southern U.S.
  • International Rescue Committee is working with refugee clients to educate them on the impending storm and assist them in finding shelter.
  • GOAL is responding to hurricane-damaged areas in Haiti.
  • Save the Children is mobilizing staff and prepositioning materials ahead of the storm’s U.S. mainland landfall.
  • SOS Children’s Villages is working with affected children and families in Haiti.
  • Volunteer Florida activated its call center to manage offers of volunteers and donations and has also activated and will manage the Florida Disaster Fund, the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster.
  • World Vision responding in effected areas of Haiti and the Dominican Republic and preparing to respond in the U.S.

These organizations/funds are not specifically endorsed by the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, but are provided for your information. We encourage you to research organizations to which you may contribute using a resource like Charity Navigator or GuideStar.

Get Our News