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Natural Disasters: How to Help

It's upsetting to see what's happening in the southern U.S. states right now after the storms. And, for the people of Japan, things are still difficult after the earthquake and tsunami.

If you want to reach out and help, here are several ways to do so:

  • Donate money. If you are able to donate money, these organizations can help people affected by natural disasters:
    [Please note: By clicking on these links, you will be leaving our site.]

But what if you can't afford to make a donation? Helping doesn't have to mean spending money. Here are some other things you can do:

  • Organize a school fundraiser. Talk with your teacher or school administrators about starting school-based activities to raise money or supplies. If you're organizing a donation drive, check with the groups listed above to be sure they need the items you plan to send. Sometimes they get too many donations and have to spend money storing or handling the excess items.
  • Organize a community event. Talk to your place of worship or a local community center (like the YMCA) about organizing a walk, run, bake sale, or other activity to raise money.
  • Donate clothes, food, or other items. Check with your local community center or place of worship to find out whether you can drop off donations or if there's another way you can contribute. (Again, it's a good idea to check with the organizations listed above to be sure they need the things you plan to send.)
  • Start small. You don't need a big group of people to make a difference. Every donation, regardless of size, helps to rebuild communities that are hit by natural disasters. If you want to donate money but can't afford to, let your family or neighbors know you are available to help out with small jobs to earn money for disaster relief. Every little bit helps! You could also think about donating later when you've had the chance to earn some money or collect necessary items. With the degree of damage in places like Japan, the need for funds will be ongoing and your contribution will be appreciated just as much later on.

It's also important to deal with your own feelings when you see people affected by tragedy. Talking to parents, teachers, and friends about what you see and how you feel can help you deal with the aftermath of disasters like storms and earthquakes.

If you go to school with kids from places that have been affected by disasters, reach out to them and offer support. They may have family members there.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: April 2011

Kids Health

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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