Hurricane Sandy and a way you can help those who lost everything

Many of you have been asking how my family and I faired during Hurricane Sandy. Well, I am fortunate to report that we did just fine, sustained no damage at all (in fact even the blown away/missing cover for my motorcyle was recovered by a neighbor).

Others were not so fortunate.

Neighbors Lucille Dwyer, right, and Linda Strong embrace after looking through the wreckage of their homes in Breezy Point on October 31, 2012. -Photo by Shannon Stapleton

In addition to all the flooding/ water damage/ power outages going on in New York, hundreds of homes were damaged by fire, and a current count is, I believe, 111 completely destroyed.

A colleague of mine is one of those people who lost everything to Hurricane Sandy. I called earlier today to check in with mutual colleagues and found out that not only did they lose absolutely everything but the clothing on their back, but that there are still people who have been without food and water for three days now.

As a Marine my first instinct is to GO HELP. I want to help so badly! I can’t bear the thought of people suffering. It’s a big reason I joined the Marine Corps, and I’m glad I’ve had opportunity to assist in humanitarian aid/disaster relief (HA/DR) in the past.

But my current place is to stay here, in Washington, DC, and do my job, while other Marines help in NY.  And much as I dislike “not helping” I need to remind myself that doing my job here IS important, and IS helping (because I often get asked, yes I’m still an active duty Marine – I’m currently stationed in Washington, DC).

But I still want to help.

There are literally thousands of charitable organizations you can donate your time, blood, items, and money to help with HA/DR. Pick one you like, and go for it! Seriously, even if you only have $5 to spare, that’s huge – every little bit counts!

If you don’t have a charitable organization you prefer, I’ll be happy to share one where 100% of your donation will go to Humanitarian Aid/Disaster Releif. Not one cent goes to admin or anyone’s pockets. It will all go to helping others. I don’t know how many other charitable organizations can make that claim.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka, I’m a Mormon). Many of you know that we have been at the forefront whenever there is a need for HA/DR & with Hurricane Sandy, it’s no different.

Each year, millions of men, women, and children are impacted by war, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other disasters. In these desperate circumstances, quick response is often the difference between life and death.

The LDS Church continually gathers donations of food, clothes, medical supplies, and relief items. The resources are then pre-positioned in key locations for shipping on short notice. Because of this preparedness, the LDS Church is able to respond immediately in times of emergency.

When the timing of response is critical, international relief agencies have come to rely on the LDS Church for food and materials.

In addition to providing materials, the LDS Church also helps with funds and volunteers. Volunteers often make the most difference in restoring hope in the lives of those in crisis. A recent example is the more than 10,000 days of labor donated by Church members to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and surrounding states.

From 1985 to 2009, the LDS Church has shipped 61,892 tons of food and 139,998 tons of other supplies to more than 150 countries. In 2009, the LDS Church provided assistance in response to the tsunami in Samoa, typhoons in the Philippines, the Padang, Indonesia earthquake, conflict in Pakistan, and 98 other disasters.

So, if you want to donate money for the relief efforts, members of the LDS church can donate directly through tithing slips, but I asked & found out that there is a website where non-members (or members) can donate as well

100% of the donation goes to humanitarian aid, there is no administration fee whatsoever. Not a dime of donated money goes to the LDS church itself. Also, the link allows people to designate where they want their money to go (ie, specifically disaster relief).

I tested the website out earlier today, and was able to make a donation within literally 1 minute of visiting the website.

Remember, even just $1 could make a world of difference in helping someone who has truly lost EVERYTHING but the clothes on their back.

So please, consider donating to a charitable organization of your choice, and help those who lost everything to Hurricane Sandy. God bless.

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)