As President Obama declared, “This is an attack not just on Paris, not just on the people of France, but an attack on all humanity and the universal values we share.” People all over the world are glued to their screens today, sending messages of support and praying.
But is that enough? What can we really do?
Here are four ways to help the people of Paris right now:
Here are just a few places taking monetary donations. Consider joining forces with those in your community and making a more sizable donation.
Help a stranded traveler
If you have extra room in your home, consider helping out a stranded French traveler by using the hashtag #strandedinUS.
If you’re in France and are open to giving someone who needs safety and shelter a place to hang out, use the hashtag #PorteOuverte.
Get the word out. Even if you’re not in a position to take in a stranded traveler, you can help immensely by sharing the stranded traveler initiatives on social media. You may reach someone who is able to help. Take a minute and hop on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and get these hashtags out there: #StrandedinUS and #PorteOuverte. It’s a simple thing that could really make a difference. You just never know.
You can also share the contact information of the main Paris embassies on your social media feed. The more people blast this information out, the easier it will make things for the people who are looking for it.
— George Aylett (@GeorgeAylett) November 13, 2015
Talk to your kids, your family and the people in your community about what happened. Talk about ways to help and generate support for sharing of information and donations that will make a difference in the days and weeks to come. Reach out to those in your circle and try to find out if someone connected to them is affected by the Paris terrorist attacks. Ask what you can do to help, even if that’s just to offer a listening ear or a hand to hold.
These things might seem simple or even inconsequential. Paris is far away and although the media makes it easy for us to keep up with events as they happen, it’s also easy to feel helpless when this kind of tragedy strikes. Making a small donation or sending out a tweet doesn’t erase the horror of what happened, but if everyone makes some small effort to show support to the people of Paris, it does make a difference.
A good deed can go a long way to counter-balance the ugliness that happened yesterday. It doesn’t take it away, but just maybe our small acts of kindness can send the message that humanity is fighting back.