In the Wake of Hurricanes, 10 Stories of Hope
In the face of tragedy—especially natural disasters like this season's cluster of hurricanes that affected the United States, Caribbean, and Mexico—it’s easy to feel helpless. Today, though, it’s possible to help, and quickly, thanks to digital fundraising campaigns and connections to local organizations. Figuring out where to send monetary aid can be overwhelming, given the vast number of aid organizations.
We compiled lists of trust-worthy ways (click the links to see) to help the victims of Harvey, Irma, and Maria, but there are many other organizations out there doing good; just make sure to research them before you donate. The road to recovery will be long for many of the places impacted, and your help will support families and communities as they recover and rebuild.
But what of those on the front lines? Coastal Living editors have gathered our favorite tales of true heroes: People who rush into danger or otherwise do as much as they are able to help those affected. May these inspiring stories—heart-breaking sometimes, touching always, and overwhelmingly human—remind us that there’s always good in the world, even in the face of disaster.
In many natural disasters, pets—especially abandoned ones—fare poorly, something Island Dog Rescue co-owner Sali Gear knows all too well. The U.S. Virgin Islands-raised animal lover helped gather the funds to charter a plane to rescue 300 animals from the islands before Hurricane Maria struck—read the full story here.
Change of Plans
Times of tragedy for some call for sacrifice from others, something two Air National Guard medical technicians know too well. The two chose to skip their wedding, just a week away, in favor of helping people affected by Hurricane Irma—but still found a way to celebrate their love for each other. Read the full story.
A telethon for hurricane relief used star-power from high-profile figures such as Beyoncé, Jamie Foxx, and Leonardo DiCaprio to raise a total of more than $44 million to benefit those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Read the full story here.
Friends in High Places
Displaced pets affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas got a lucky break when Southwest Airlines, with the help of rescue groups, flew an airplane carrying 64 dogs and cats from Texas to San Diego, California, to relieve the stress placed on overcrowded shelters back in Texas. In California, these animals are being held in shelters until they can find their forever homes: Read the full story.
Perry, Georgia, may just be a spot on the map, but it’s full of big hearts: Residents of this small town banded together to treat evacuees fleeing Hurricane Irma (many of whom used the last of their funds to get to Perry) to some good, old-fashioned Southern hospitality with barbecue, biscuits, bacon, and more. Read the full story here.
Beloved by Hemingway and Florida Keys fans alike, the six-toed cats of the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum stayed put through Hurricane Irma and came through it alive and well—read about how they weathered the storm here.
Concerts for a Cause
Singer-songwriter and conservationist Jack Johnson is turning his fall tour into a chance to direct funds toward grassroots efforts to provide relief to those affected by the recent hurricanes. Read the full story here.
All Hands on Deck
In times of tragedy, it’s important for all members of a community to step up and help however they can—and a nun in the Miami, Florida, area stepped up in a big way, taking it upon herself to help clear roads to help prevent others from coming to harm. Read the full story here.
Crowdfunding in Action
Through crowdfunding sites such as GoFundMe and YouCaring, U.S. citizens affected by recent hurricanes are able to raise money to pay for repairs to their homes and property—read all about how every day people from across the country are able to help directly with just a few clicks of a button here.
This one proves that anyone and everyone can make a difference: Florida-based writer and video host—and occasional Coastal Living contributor!—Kara Franker took it upon herself to raise funds to support relief efforts in the Florida Keys. Franker, who had planned to produce beach totes and roundies as a side-gig, decided to donate 100 percent of the profits of her creations to relief efforts. Learn more about her work here.