According to the National Fire Prevention Administration, 369,000 home fires occurred in 2013, resulting in a 6.8 billion dollar loss in direct property damages. House fires are an unexpected and unfortunate event that make families feel alone and helpless after the tragedy of losing a great deal and sometimes everything they own. If a house fire happens in your neighborhood or to a loved one, you can lend a hand by following any of these five steps.
1. Send Love and Take Action
The first step you can take in supporting a family affected by a house fire is to let them know you’re there for them. A fire can make people feel alone and helpless, so a call, text, or email would make them feel like they have their friends and family supporting them through this difficult time. Then take action yourself. Often an unexpected crisis like a house fire can leave people unsure of what to do next. Asking what you can do to help won’t be as effective as you assessing the situation and assigning yourself a task. For immediate needs, put together a bag of toiletries like toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, and other necessities
2. Send a Check
If a family lost their possessions in a fire, imagine how overwhelming it would be, both financially and emotionally. Sending a check in any amount would be greatly appreciated and beneficial to them. They will most likely need to spend a lot of money on clothes, food, and toiletries, so offer some financial support to help keep them afloat while they wait for the insurance to process.
3. Make a Homemade Meal or Buy Groceries
Since this is a stressful and exhausting time in the family’s life, ask neighbors and your community to cook or buy groceries for the family. Non-perishable groceries or ready-to-make homemade meals are very generous gestures that the family will appreciate.
4. Organize a Clothing Drive
Another way to get your community involved is to host a clothing drive for the family in need. Consider the number of family members and clothing sizes, and know that anything you are willing to donate is a step towards making a positive difference. Reference SFGate’s list of things a family needs after a house fire about what to donate or buy for the family’s immediate needs.
5. Launch a YouCaring Fundraiser
Lastly, pair any of the fundraising ideas above with a YouCaring fundraiser. It’s difficult for someone in need to reach out for help or even start a fundraiser on their own. Take the work off their shoulders and start a free YouCaring fundraiser for them, and encourage your community to donate and share it on social media. You can also reach out to your local news organization to cover the story and fundraiser to reach a larger audience.
Accomplishing any or all of these will be a step in the right direction to help a family after a fire.