Hurricane Idalia Causes Major Damage Across The Southeast: Here's How To Help

Many communities in Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina have experienced severe destruction and could use the assistance of their neighbors.

<p><a href="">Joe Raedle</a> / Staff/Getty Images</p>

Joe Raedle / Staff/Getty Images

Overnight Tuesday, Hurricane Idalia garnered strength from the extremely warm waters off the coast of Florida, reaching category 4 strength before ultimately making landfall as a category 3 early Wednesday morning near Keaton Beach. Maximum winds were 125 mph as the massive storm struck land in Florida’s Big Bend around 7:45 A.M. EST. Idalia’s high winds, heavy rains, and high storm surge have caused great damage across a wide swath of Florida.  Per NBC News, officials from the National Weather Service office in Tallahassee said,“locations may be uninhabitable for several weeks or months.”

As Idalia moved into Georgia, it weakened to a category 1 and then later a tropical storm but the wrath of this storm is still being felt by the entire region. It continued through Wednesday night into the Carolinas causing major flooding in both states. In Charleston, the National Weather Service said in a Tweet, “This event will rank as the 5th highest peak tide on record (back to 1921).”

Even as the storm was still in motion, several relief organizations began setting up shop in affected areas. Here are several vetted nonprofits that are on the ground, doing the work if you would like to contribute to their efforts.

American Red Cross

Hundreds of American Red Cross disaster responders have sprung into action opening evacuation shelters in both Florida and Georgia with the expectation that more could be needed. They also prepared with local hospitals ahead of the storm and provided them with extra blood products as the need could increase as the injured are treated.

Donate to their efforts here.

Mercy Chefs

Virginia-based Mercy Chefs has deployed and set up their mobile kitchens in Live Oak, Florida at Suwannee High School, located at 1314 Pine Ave SW, Live Oak, FL 32064. Their nearly two dozen chefs and team members began serving meals on Thursday, August 31 and will continue as long as the need is there. “Our hearts are with those impacted by Hurricane Idalia, and we’re ready to show individuals hope in the form of a meal,” Gary LeBlanc, founder and CEO of Mercy Chefs, said in a statement.

Donate to their efforts here.

Operation BBQ Relief

The BBQ pit masters turned relief workers, Operation BBQ Relief have also deployed and set up shop in Live Oak, Florida. They have set up a base camp but founder and CEO Stan Hays told Southern Living they plan to also have 5-10 remote feeding locations around the affected areas. Per their Instagram page, OBR had their crews and equipment staged nearby ahead of the storm and will also begin serving meals on Thursday, August 31. “We will provide meals to everyone affected by the hurricane, including residents, first responders, and relief workers. We can't do this without your help.”

Donate to their efforts here.

Team Rubicon

Veteran led humanitarian organization Team Rubicon has had their army of Grey Shirts staged and ready since before the storm approached Florida’s coast. As the storm was battering the coast, Team Rubicon had two route clearance teams moving in to help clear the way for emergency responders. They also had team members in place in Savannah ahead of Idalia’s arrival. Once they have the all clear, these brave volunteers will begin helping residents of these communities clear the debris and begin the recovery and rebuilding process.

Donate to their efforts here.

World Central Kitchen

The folks at World Central kitchen set up bases in Tampa and in Gainesville and have been driving up and down the coast as well as in the air in their helicopter taking food and water to any who are in need. In an update on Instagram, WCK’s Sam said they are looking to bring more resources to the fire truck on Horseshoe Beach as the clean up efforts really get underway. WCK will be serving food to those in need all throughout the region and you can help.

Donate to their efforts here.

This is a developing story.

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