Natural Disaster Victims: How You Can Help

We've been overwhelmed with outreach by our community of members to help their fellow destinations affected by the recent catastrophic natural disasters.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been impacted by the recent devastating natural diasters. As we continue to monitor the status of those affected, we urge our community to lend their support.

Organizations providing emergency response and relief efforts require significant resources not only at this critical time, but in the months of recovery ahead. Please see below for a list of those in need of your support. We will continue to update the page with additional organizations operating in affected areas. 

Meetings Communication for Destinations

Please reference empowerMINT's resources on crisis management to communicate the most accurate information on the status of your destination to planners and attendees. 

Ellicott City, Maryland Affected by Flooding

For the second time in just a few years, Ellicott City in Maryland has suffered excessive rainfall, leading to severe flash flooding that had destroyed much of the downtown business district. Visit Howard County is looking for donations and volunteers to help the city rebuild. See their ecstrong page for more details on how you can help.

Hawai'i Affected by Kilauea Volcano

Kilauea volcano has recently begun erupting larger amounts of lava than usual, threatening a small portion of the big island of Hawai'i. While the vast majority of the state is open and safe for travelers, many homes and businesses have been destroyed by the enslaught of the eruption. Here are some details on how this has impacted Hawai'i tourism as well as additional online resources.

California Affected by Mudslides

Just after the wildfires, torrential rain struck Southern California, causing flash flooding and mudslides which swept away dozens of homes and cars. Here is how you can help victims.

California Affected by the Wildfires

Southern California fires exacerbated by Santa Ana winds have displaced more than 200,000 residents. Learn more about how you can help survivors virtually and locally here.

Sonoma County Tourism is keeping their website up-to-date with helpful links about the areas affected by the wildfires and has information on how to offer help to those in need. 

For those wishing to help with relief and recovery efforts, the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund has been activated and is accepting donations here. 

Financial donations to help families with damaged homes in Anaheim may be made through the Anaheim Community Foundation,

Tourism Cares

Looking for ways to directly support the destinations and attractions that were most impacted by recent superstorms? Tourism Cares has multiple funds dedicated to accelerating the relief process by promoting the return of visitors, meetings, and jobs.

Help get the local tourism community back on its feet through the Destination Disaster Recovery fund and these dedicated campaigns:

Florida and the Caribbean Affected by Hurricane Irma and Maria

If you are in the region and can lend a helping hand, volunteer to work at shelters and other other disaster relief organizations. You can register and learn more about Volunteer Florida.

Global Giving has set a US$ 2 million goal to help hurricane survivors in the U.S. and Caribbean with food, water, life-saving medicine, and longer term assistance necessary to rebuild.

Airbnb invites residents in areas not affected by the storm to host displaced residents and evacuees by listing your home for free. 

Help Save the Children keep vulnerable children safe during the recovery process as they provide safe play and sleep spaces, and help restore critical child care and education services.

GoFundMe has partnered with the Direct Impact Fund. Donate to the general fund or select a specific campaign to which your funds will be applied.

Barbuda became one of the hardest hit islands in the path of Hurricane Irma with more than 95% of its structures completely demolished. The Red Cross is helping the island's residents with immediate relief and recover their homes and communities.

Nearly a million in Puerto Rico remain without power. Donate to help relief efforts to the island here. For ongoing updates by Meet Puerto Rico, please reference this page.

With two islands still without power, running water, or cell phone service, and St. Thomas' only hospital non-operational, donate here to help the U.S. Virgin Islands recover more quickly to support their residents in need.

Sources: Fast CompanyConde Nast

Houston and Texas Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Members across Texas suggest donations be made to the American Red Cross.

Global Giving has set a goal to raise US $2 million to support hurricane victims. The organization provides food, gas, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter in the short-term, and then funnels the remaining resources to local organizations to facilitate long-term recovery.

Visit Houston recently set up a fund to help hospitality employees, called the Houston Hospitality Employee Relief Fund, alongside the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston and the Houston Restaurant Association. Those who would like can donate here.

Texas Monthly has curated a diverse list of organizations that are helping storm victims, a number of which are highlighted below:

The Texas Diaper Bank is pulling together relief kits for families with very small children who need access to clean diapers in the midst of flooding and evacuations. 

Corpus Christi's Driscoll Children’s Hospital is fully operational and serves a large swath of the coast that will likely rely on their services.

The SPCA of Texas is taking in hundreds of animals transferred from shelters on the coast and finding animals foster homes until they can be reunited with owners.

Portlight is working to ensure that people who require medical equipment and assistive technology have what they need after they evacuate, and to make sure that those same folks are able to get to safety. 

Direct Relief USA offers prescription drugs and other medical supplies to those who need it in emergency situations, and works with clinics and primary care doctors to ensure continuous care.

Food Banks identified by the Houston Press serve immediately impacted areas as well as places where displaced residents will ultimately spend time during the aftermath of the storm. 

The Houston Coalition for the Homeless is facilitating shelter for homeless people in Houston, including offering up-to-date information about which shelters currently have space, who’s the best fit for each one, and how to get there safely.

Airbnb invites residents in areas not affected by the storm to host displaced residents and evacuees by listing your home for free. 

Trusted World is operating three shelters for evacuees. They need donations, supplies (clean clothing, non-perishable food, toiletries, diapers, and baby formula), and volunteers to help sort out the things that people have dropped off.

Source: Texas Monthly, The Daily Post