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Work with your kids to support victims of superstorm Sandy

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

How to help families in need

As millions of Americans struggle to recover from the devastating effects of superstorm Sandy, learn what your family can do to help with disaster relief.

Help your kids process their feelings about the storm by getting them involved with relief efforts.

With each passing day, the news from the aftermath of superstorm Sandy becomes bleaker. The storm is now blamed for over 80 deaths in the United States. Millions are without power and basic necessities. Children may become overwhelmed or anxious over news of the storm and loss of life. Help your children cope by involving them in positive efforts to relieve victims of the storm.

Raise money for relief organizations

In the immediate aftermath of a storm, dozens of relief organizations mobilize to assist victims. When you talk to your kids about the storm, focus on the ways that people are helping each other. Ask your kids to help you brainstorm ways to raise funds to donate to relief organizations. For example, younger kids can donate portions of their allowances, teens can consign clothes or babysit, and families can host bake sales. If you donate money online, walk your kids through the process and talk about what that money is being used for.

Ways you can help

Here are some organizations currently reaching out to victims on the East Coast. If your child is age-appropriate, sit down with her and take a look at these websites to share stories of what people are doing to help victims. Talk about the sacrifices you can make as a family to budget for cash donations.

Give blood

While kids can’t personally give blood, you can involve them by talking about why it’s important to donate blood in times of need. If your kids are old enough to accompany you, bring them along to your local donation center or blood drive. This is a great chance to expose kids to a process that they may have anxiety about. If you’re afraid of needles or don’t handle giving blood well, go ahead and leave them at home during the process. Ask the blood drive staff if they have flyers or other promotional materials your children can distribute at school. Visit American Red Cross to find out where to give blood or attend a local drive.

Collect goods for storm victims

As you discuss the storm with your kids, talk about basic everyday goods that they may take for granted. Storm victims are in need of items like diapers, food and basic toiletries. In most cases, it’s best to donate money. Relief organizations have more experience distributing funds properly and buying the goods that are important. However, if you have contact with local relief groups asking for non-perishable donations, it’s perfectly fine to help them out. Help your kids organize a small drive through their classroom, your neighborhood association or place of worship.

More on giving back

8 Ways you can help fight hunger
Volunteering opportunities for teens
Ways to volunteer as a family

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