Hurricane Hurricane Relief

Helping Hurricane Victims without getting scammed

We all want to help victims of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey. It’s been a rough time for people in Florida and Texas.


Here’s how to help without getting scammed.

First thing – make sure you’re working with real charities.

  • Be wary of charities that seem to suddenly appear in the wake of hurricane disasters.
  • You can research charities using the Charity Navigator or Charity Watch both let you see if a charity is rated or accredited. Charity Navigator offers a list of organizations helping the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.
  • Better Business Bureau is also a good way to check and see if the business is established.

Suggestions to help:

The Mayor of Houston created the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to be administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation


In Florida with so many cities were hit by Hurricane Irma – Global Giving is one to consider. The fund works with local organization to provide help to survivors offering emergency supplies like food, water, and medicine and long term recovery assistance.


You can look into local groups and organizations with long standing ties to the community if you don’t want to give to a national charity organization. Use the Charity Navigator  and click on either hurricane  for more information on organizations.


Salvation Army – you can make a donation on their site


Red Cross – you can donate money on their website for both hurricanes. They also need volunteers.


Texas Diaper Bank – you can drop off or mail diapers and wipes: 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, Tex., 78238. Also can you donate on their site.

Helping Animals:

Best Friend Society – helps find homes and reunites animals with their families of Hurricane Irma


Houston SPCA and Houston Humane Society are both seeking donations to help the animals in the area


Big Cat Rescue in Tampa cares for lions, tigers and other large cats.


SPCA of Texas is helping our furry friends and could also use donations.


ASCPA – 100% of donations going to field investigation and response fund for Hurricane Irma


Your time – volunteering with a local charity is a great way to help. Find out who in your community is helping the hurricane victims and pitch in!

Hurricane Life

Getting Ready – Hurricane Prep

As I sit in my office in beautiful Clearwater Florida, Hurricane Irma, a destructive category 5 is barreling its way toward the state. On Monday, Labor Day, the bliss of rest and relaxation was interrupted by the Governor declaring a state of emergency.

Visit the National Hurricane Center for more information and updates.


Over the past few days, we’ve experienced gas stations without gas, no bottle water and shelves without can goods, bread and other staples. Wednesday morning at 6am and I found long lines at my local gas station and waited almost 30 minute to fill my tank. At 6:45am, I went to the supermarket thinking I was going to get ahead of the crowd – nope there were 50-60 people already in line. We could see the water bottle packs stacked up inside. I was able to get a few 24 packs of water but still no bread.


As of Friday, the hurricane seems to be heading more west but that’s not confirmed and since the system is bigger than the state, being prepared is vital no matter where you are.


I have been through a few hurricanes since moving to Florida but it’s been several years and I have to admit I feel out of practice and a little nervous. Living in Florida you know to have plenty of flashlights, lanterns and candles (I use prayer candles in glass they last for 100 hours and are cheap). We lose power  a few times a year since most of our power lines are above ground. With a hurricane looming, it’s a good idea check them all and get extra batteries.



Things to do to be ready for a hurricane:

  • Pinellas County – my county – has a Ready Pinellas app available at the Apple store and Google Play – It’s great. Shows your hurricane evacuation zone, offers a readiness checklist and many other tips.
  • Check for your Florida county’s information to find out about alerts, sandbags, evacuation, etc.
  • Know your zone – Luckily I’m in a non evac zone but my sister didn’t’ realize her zone had changed (and not for the better). So go on your county’s emergency site and check.
  • Get water – you need a gallon of water per person per day and extra if you have pets
  • Fill your gas tank – not so easy right now here in Pinellas but keep trying
  • Get cash
  • Video your valuables – with most phones having a video feature – do a video of your valuables (inside and outside) for insurance in case you have damage.
  • Be sure you have a First Aid kit
  • Sandbags – if your area /home floods check your county’s emergency page for sandbag locations
  • Fill bathtub with water (be sure to clean the tub first)
  • Get ice to keep food and drinks cooled – you can keep in a cooler, your bathtub or even the washing machine and when it melts you’ll have more water
  • Food – non-perishables for when the power goes out and food to eat while you’re waiting
  • Do laundry – if the storm hits and you lose water you will wish you had


Whether you’re leaving or staying – pets know something is up when a storm or hurricane is coming and they get nervous and antsy. Do your best to keep them calm. (Our office mascots are doing fine so far). Be sure you pet has ID with your name and phone on them. And if you have time, get them micro chipped. If you evacuate – take your pet; if you can’t find a friend who is outside an evacuation zone who can take them. Buy extra pet food and be sure you have water for them. Have a photo of pet in case you lose them. And if you evacuate, bring a blanket/bed, favorite toy and crate if it’s not too big


If you are going to leave it’s a good idea to have a “Go Bag” ready with basics including clothes, medication, food, water, bedding, and personal hygiene products. Don’t forgot your phone charger (getting one with batteries is a great idea); cash is king after hurricanes since loss of electricity can happen. And don’t forget your important papers. Before you leave – turn off your utilities at the main switch and lock your doors and windows.

What to do if you’re staying put:

  • If you’re staying and hunkering down (I never used the word hunker until I moved to Florida and went through a hurricane) – Board up your windows.
  • Be sure you have all your important papers in high place in your home or in a water proof container. Take your computer off the floor. If you’re prone to flooding – put things up on couches, chairs, top of shelves, etc.
  • If you have a generator – check it and be sure you have gas
  • Get charcoal or propane to cook on your grill if you lose electricity – one year we cooked everything in our freezer since we lost power for three days.
  • Supplies to have for cleanup include: garbage bags, rags and tarps, tap, ropes and bug spray. Bug sprays is so important after the storm when those pesky critters are everywhere and you’re outside working to clean up.


Final thought – get comfort food. Howling winds and blinding rain calls for foods that make you feel good. Me – it’s a nice cupcake. But whatever it is for you, have some on hand. You’d be surprise how much it can help when you’re feeling stressed.


Be safe.