After the darkness of a smothering storm so horrid it felt immoral, Bucks and Montgomery County residents like scores nationwide wonder what’s next. How to help the Bahamas? What can I do, they ask. If the past is any sign, this region quickly will step up and offer assistance in many ways following Hurricane Dorian’s atrocious attack.
As was the case after Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey, for example, local efforts raised needed money, gained vital blood donations, and volunteer individuals and groups gave time. The death toll today from Dorian is rising in the Bahamas, where about 13,000 homes and countless businesses were destroyed, and about 70,000 people left homeless. Shelter, drinking water and food urgently are needed.
Don’t be surprised if relief efforts will be launched out of Bucks and Montgomery counties following the latest humanitarian crisis. That’s what they do. And maybe they’ll be something like this: In 2006 following Hurricane Katrina’s summer 2005 landfall, the Bucks County Katrina Relief Project raised more than $900,000 to aid two hurricane-ravaged towns in Mississippi with establishment of a day-care facility and animal shelter.
A dozen years later, another powerful hurricane, Harvey, brought devastation and despair thousands of miles from the Greater Delaware Valley. But this area answered the call anyway with money, blood, animal rescues and supplies delivered to the needy families, much through the American Red Cross. Which recognizes the Bucks-Montgomery effectiveness.
“We’re overwhelmed with the generosity of the community,” said Sophie Kluthe, communications manager, American Red Cross, Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter.
Bucks and Montgomery residents can pitch in again.
“We welcome anyone who wants to help,” said Kluthe, whose chapter covers 17 counties including Bucks and Montgomery. “We urge people who are able to and haven’t already done so, to please help with a financial donation to the Red Cross or donate blood.”
Here’s a few places to help:
• The Salvation Army. The organization is acquiring money for relief efforts in the Bahamas and United States. Visit the salvationarymcarolinas.org.
• Catholic Relief Services. Visit support.crs.org/donate/hurricane-dorian.
“Catholic Relief Services – along with local partners – is working quickly to assess immediate needs,” said the group. “Donations help bring relief in the form of food, emergency shelter and safe water, to affected families.”
Kluthe said there are many ways to provide assistance.
“We have volunteers who are trained extensively in every region,” she said. “We have volunteers from Bucks and Montgomery counties. Even before the hurricane hit, we had volunteers dropping everything and deploying to help out at shelters in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida. We have dedicated volunteers.”