7 ways to help first responders affected by Hurricane Laura
A variety of nonprofits are raising money to provide financial relief, needed supplies and food to first responders who were affected by and are working in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura
While helping their communities recover from the devastation left behind by Hurricane Laura, many first responders in impact zones have also had their own homes damaged or destroyed. Here are some funds and organizations you can contribute to in order to assist first responders affected by and responding to this natural disaster.
1. IAFF Disaster Relief Fund
The International Association of Fire Fighters has been assisting members affected by Hurricane Laura since landfall, with a "Go-Team" organized to make repairs to firefighters' homes and provide support to those displaced by the storm.
As of Aug. 31, the IAFF had received 80 requests for repairs and 166 disaster relief applications related to Hurricane Laura.
Donations can be made to the IAFF Disaster Relief Fund to support firefighters affected by Laura and other natural disasters.
2. HEART 9/11
HEART 9/11, a nonprofit organization made up of active and retired New York first responders who provide relief in the aftermath of natural disasters, has partnered with the IAFF to assist firefighters affected by the storm. The organization has set up a Hurricane Laura response fundraiser to help deploy volunteers to impacted areas.
3. Acadian Ambulance Employee Relief Fund
Several employees of Acadian Ambulance in Louisiana, which was on the front lines of the initial hurricane response, have suffered losses due to Hurricane Laura, according to the agency. The Community Foundation of Acadiana has sent up a disaster relief fund to support EMS providers facing financial hardship from the storm and other natural disasters.
4. FDNY Firefighter John F. McNamara Foundation
The FDNY Firefighter John F. McNamara Foundation, also known as The Johnny Mac Foundation, is raising money for firefighters in Lake Charles, Louisiana, who lost their homes and belongings when the eye of the hurricane passed over the city.
The foundation, which was formed in memory of McNamara after his death from 9/11-related cancer, said in a statement that it is in contact with the Lake Charles Fire Department where "a number of their members lost everything."
The foundation launched a fundraiser on Facebook with a goal to raise $2,500.
5. Lake Charles Police Officers Association
Police officers in the hard-hit city of Lake Charles have also set up a fundraiser through the first-responder-focused crowdfunding site Fund the First.
The Lark Charles Police Officers Association 830 wrote in a statement, "The aftermath of Hurricane Laura has destroyed the homes of multiple officers, countless law enforcement, and families throughout the state. This tragic incident has drastically changed the lives of these first responders and civilian families alike."
6. Harris County Sheriff's Office
The Harris County Sheriff's Office in Texas has organized a fundraiser to bring much-needed supplies to Louisiana first responders and their families as a way to give back to their neighbors.
"When Hurricane Harvey struck our community three years ago, our Louisiana neighbors rushed to our aid and worked at our side as long as we needed them," Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said in a statement. "Now, it's our turn to support our friends. We know that first responders are unable to take time off from work after a disaster to take care of their own families, so we're going to step in and give them all the support we can muster during their time of need."
The sheriff's office will be accepting donations at five of its substations in Houston, Spring, Humble and Tomball. High-demand items include water, non-perishable food items, new blankets and pillows, baby supplies and hygiene products.
7. Organizations feeding first responders
Several organizations have been providing meals to first responders and survivors during Hurricane Laura rescue and recovery efforts. Operation BBQ Relief has set up an online fundraiser to support its Hurricane Laura efforts, stating in an update on Tuesday that it has provided more than 166,000 meals so far to "families, members of the military, first responders, utility workers, and front-line essential employees."
The Louisiana Hospitality Foundation has also set up a Hurricane Laura fund to help provide meals to first responders and other community members.
The Salvation Army has deployed more than 40 mobile feeding stations to provide meals to first responders and survivors and is accepting donations for meals and clean-up kits for those affected by the storm.