Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on Sunday, August 29, 2021, as a category four hurricane with 150 mph winds. Now classified as a tropical storm and heading northeast, Ida has already destroyed buildings, caused massive flooding, and left at least a million people in New Orleans without power, the New York Times reports.
The storm hit also at a time when COVID-19 rates in the southern U.S. are spiking, and case rates in Louisiana are finally just beginning to decline after hitting an all-time high in mid-August. So, in addition to the health crises that typically follow natural disasters like this, residents there will have COVID-19 and an overstressed health care system to contend with as well.
If you’re looking for a way to help those in Louisiana, here’s a collection of both national charities and local grassroots efforts providing assistance on the ground that you can get involved with. Of course, Louisiana is not the only state in Ida’s path. There is also a slew of relief efforts in other states affected by the storm, like Alabama and Mississippi, so this list is hardly exhaustive.
Many of the organizations here, where noted, have been vetted by non-profit watchdog organization Charity Navigator for transparency, accountability, and efficiency. However, since some of the most effective efforts in humanitarian crises may be smaller grassroots organizations that are not registered as 501(c)(3) organizations, we’ve also included some groups not evaluated by third parties. Whenever you’re giving money to a cause, it’s a good idea to do your own research to help ensure your donation will be used as intended.
The other organization that New Orleans recommends is the Greater New Orleans Foundation, which has a four-star rating on Charity Navigator. The foundation operates programs aimed at distributing resources to local philanthropic efforts, including via its Disaster Response & Restoration Fund.
The United Way of Southeast Louisiana (two stars on Charity Navigator) is one of two organizations that the city of New Orleans specifically directs people to for donations. As a local chapter of United Way, an international nonprofit, United Way of Southeast Louisiana is focused on providing for those in need and alleviating the effects of poverty. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization provided emergency food and shelter, distributed emergency crisis grants to those in the hard-hit hospitality industry, and provided monetary and supply donations for hurricane relief.
Americares is a global nonprofit organization (with four stars from Charity Navigator) that specializes in providing health aid and relief. That includes providing medication, emergency health clinics, and health care workers (including those focused on mental health) in areas recovering from natural disasters.
The “Cajun Navy,” a term coined after Hurricane Katrina, is an improvised group of volunteers in boats who help those in flooded areas. Cajun Navy Relief is a nonprofit organization made up of volunteers in New Orleans who bring direct assistance to those in need. You can donate supplies (such as canned food, water, or toiletries) as well as money.
Imagine Water Works is a local queer-, Native-, Creole-, and trans-led organization focused on water and climate justice, disaster preparation, and mutual aid. It leads the Mutal Aid Response Network during disaster events like Ida. The network is currently taking donations to support relief and recovery after the hurricane and throughout the rest of the hurricane season.
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