How to Help Animals and People Affected by Natural Disasters in the US, Mexico and Caribbean
Like many of you, I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed by the recent hurricanes in Florida, Texas and the Caribbean and earthquakes in Mexico. I've traveled to all of them and each place is special to me in one way or another. I love the over the top-ness of Miami and the relaxed vibes of the Florida Keys. I have family and friends in Texas, and while I don't agree with Texans on much, I appreciate their big, independent spirit. I will always love the wild, loud and colorful culture of the Caribbean, especially the food and music. And Mexico will always be big, beautiful, a bit wild, and mysterious to me.
I've spent the last couple weeks scrolling through my feeds and saying "This Sucks!" out loud more times than I'd like to admit, and wanting to help, but not really sure how, so I did some research and put together a list of charitable organizations that are making an effort to help people and animals affected by the recent natural disasters.
I hope this post helps you help others and if you're feeling down, remember that bad things happen all the time, but nothing bad lasts forever and eventually we'll all get through it together!
HOW TO HELP MEXICO
Topos Mexico or Los Topos is a rescue organization that was set up after the last historic earthquake in Mexico City in 1985 to mobilize quickly to help trapped or injured victims following a quake. Their site was down earlier today, but according to Twitter they are accepting Paypal donations sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Here's a nice story about them from the BBC.
I haven't been able to lock down specifically what the Humane Society International is doing to support animal rescue efforts related to the recent earthquakes so far, but HSI usually steps up to help animals after natural disasters around the world, so donating to them now allows them to keep doing their job. You can donate to their International Disaster Relief Fund and follow them on Twitter and Instagram for updates.
HOW TO HELP THE US VIRGIN ISLANDS & PUERTO RICO
Tim Duncan, formerly of the the San Antonio Spurs, crew up in the US Virgin Islands on St. Croix. He survived Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and remembered how hard it was to rebuild and how thankful he was when relief came. He penned a personal essay called "Don't Forget About The Islands" and set up a relief fund for the USVI.
The Humane Society of the US has stepped up to help provide food and care for animals from the USVI and Puerto Rico who have been abandoned and injured during the hurricanes, and they helped move hundreds of healthy animals from the islands to shelters in the US to make room for those that can't be relocated. You can donate directly to their Disaster Relief Fund and follow their updates on Twitter and Instagram. I tried to find local animal shelters to donate to, but it was hard to figure out what was legit and still in operation post-storm. If I hear of any, I will update this post.
HOW TO HELP FLORIDA & HOUSTON, TX
Global Giving is a reputable crowd-funding site that allows people to donate to a cause of their choice, then the funds are distributed to smaller organizations supporting that cause. Global Giving vets all the organizations they support and has a good rating on Charity Navigator so you can feel pretty confident that your money is going to a good place. You can donate directly to their Hurricane Irma Relief Fund or their Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
Best Friends is national animal welfare organization dedicated to helping no kill shelters across America and they have mobilized to help rescue animals and support shelters afflicted by Hurricane Irma and Harvey. They've also set up Pet Reunion Pavilions to help people reunite with their lost pets after the storms. You can donate directly to their Hurricane Relief Fund and follow their updates on Hurricane Harvey and Irma and check their Twitter and Instagram for updates.
Austin Pets Alive! is a local shelter in Austin, TX that has stepped up to be a staging area and leader to help rescue animals and support other shelters in Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey. They've been helping find foster homes cats and dogs and have opened temporary shelters to house all the evacuated animals, and so far they've been able to help over 2,000 animals! You can donate to them here and follow updates on their efforts here and on Twitter and Instagram.