EmptyPocketsIt’s unbelievable.  The countless, natural disasters and seemingly endless catastrophes that have devastated so many lives – recently!

Do you owe Sallie Mae, Fannie Mae, Grandma Mae, Rent a Center and Washington Gas and you just don’t know how you can help anyone do anything?  Are you staring at the TV or the internet overwhelmed and numb because you just don’t know WHAT to do? Do you want to help but feel the need is so large that your small contribution won’t matter?  Perhaps you want to help but have been living paycheck to paycheck since you started getting a pay check. Maybe you just ain’t got it. Well here are a few things to do when your money is funny but your heart is in the right place.

Remember – Every Little Bit Helps

Rebuilding communities, homes and lives is a continuous, long term effort.  Don’t doubt yourself or your impact, send what you have, do what you can.  It doesn’t have to be today but please know, doing nothing helps nothing.

Research reputable charities, organizations and specific needs

Take your shoes off, put your glasses on and take time to research which charities are reputable and which organizations put your money where their mouth is.  Look into organizations that support the causes and communities that you believe in.  Research the specific needs and requests of the impacted communities.  Find out which specific populations are in need such as seniors or babies and which specific items are needed in abundance such as diapers and water.  Is the community pleading with people NOT to send teddy bears,  used underclothes and expired canned goods?  Also, find out which organizations are collecting and NOT helping…you may not want to spend too much time on this but it doesn’t hurt to know who they are.  Do the research, then SHARE IT, tell your mama, your barber, your followers, your Facebook friends etc.

For complete, up to date information on non-profits, click here

Organize a collection drive

Choose one of those reputable charities that you researched and set up a collection drive in your work place, beauty salon, home or kid’s football game.  Become an official collection point for that organization; pickup, collect, sort, pack and deliver.  Reach out and help the many people who have the money but lack the time to donate or the know how to research reputable organizations.

Volunteer with one of those reputable charities

The many donations collected by your local organizations need sorting, packing, stocking, labeling, shipping and delivery help.  Administrative tasks and social networking may be needed.  There may be an abundance of donations but no one to sort it or load it onto the truck.  Volunteer your time, strength and tangible skills.

Donate blood

The process of donating blood takes about one hour and 15 minutes from start to finish.  With one donation, you can save more than one life.  It’s a given that you will at least receive a free bag of cookies and a juice, maybe even a t-shirt.  Some donors even receive a free ticket to a Redskins home game, for those of you not boycotting.

For more info on donating blood, click here OR here.


Yes they are definitely another mouth to feed, but please, hear me out.  Contact your local shelters that have taken in displaced animals and volunteer your time, expertise or animal whispering talents.  Scoop some poop or take the kids to play or interact.  The animals are displaced and traumatized too.

For more information on helping displaced animals, please click here, or contact your local humane society.

Prepare yourself and your family

What could be discomfort and inconvenience for you will quickly escalate into a crisis if you are not prepared.  Community resources and public services do face delays – if they operate at all – during large scale emergencies. Of course limited funds and stress are hard on a regular day; whatever your financial circumstance, you still can and should be as prepared as possible for emergencies.  Don’t wait until the last minute to refill that prescription, don’t get down to the last diaper or bottle of water or the last 36 miles until your gas tank is empty.  Buy an extra can of soup, an extra pack of batteries, make use of the Dollar Tree and clip some coupons.  Along with building an emergency kit and stocking up on necessities for yourself and your family, you can create a communication and emergency plan for yourself and your family FOR FREE.

Find your free Community Emergency Response Training here

For more information on emergency preparedness, click here.

Sign up for emergency alerts in the National Capital Region here.