Northwest Missourian Opinion

Survivors wade through chest-level water in search of salvageable supplies and anything left from their devastated homes in hopes of recovery from the natural disaster that struck.

Hurricane Dorian made contact with The Bahamas Sept. 2, wreaking havoc, crippling infrastructure and sparking a humanitarian crisis. Sept. 3, it raged on, this time taking five lives on Abaco Island, according to the news source Al Jazeera.

Countless victims are suffering in the wake of Hurricane Dorian and are in need of relief support. As a community, Northwest students, faculty and staff should take action to help the victims.

The Office of Student Affairs is organizing a way for the community to donate directly to the victims of the hurricane. The community should take advantage of this opportunity to help donate; however, ensuring you make a helpful donation is crucial. 

HowStuffWorks, a website that provides easy to understand explanations about different topics, illuminates what is called the disaster after the disaster, an issue caused by useless donations coming in. The idea of useless donations sounds absurd, but in reality, it results in the crippling of relief efforts.

Unwanted donations make shelters and warehouses unusable while simultaneously taking up the precious time of volunteers that could be dedicated elsewhere, according to TED

A far too common unwanted donation is teddy bears. The same TED article stated that 65,000 teddy bears were donated after the Sandy Hook shooting.

Rather than being helpful, receiving 65,000 teddy bears grinds the already weak pop-up infrastructure at the site of the disaster to a halt. This stops the important donations from getting to the people who need them.

Sandy Hook may not be a hurricane disaster, but the same donation mindset applies to any disaster. People far too often pack up a box with whatever they can find without a second thought about if the contents are actually useful.

Other donations that don’t help anyone are expired foods; already opened medicines; old, ruined clothes; used underwear; toys and other miscellaneous items that aren’t specifically being asked for by relief organizations.

For an idea of what to donate, several news sources have reached out to relief organizations to find out what donations are needed. 

The New York Times interviewed Stephen McAndrew, the deputy director for the Americas of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, who said shelter, unexpired food, water, unopened medicine and communication devices are in high demand.

They also reached out to the organization HeadKnowles. HeadKnowles helps coordinate relief efforts in The Bahamas and has set up a GoFundMe for money donations.

When you see donation boxes appear around campus, take time to see if you can afford to help make useful donations to help the victims of Hurricane Dorian, Bearcats.

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