Sunday, March 3, 2024

How To Be Helpful To Others in the Aftermath of These Extreme Weather Events (And How to Ensure You Put Your Own Oxygen Mask On First…)

Here we go again – with large parts of the North Island now affected by the historic weather events yet again, here’s a list of how to be helpful: whether you have time, money or supplies.

While the rain continues to fall in Auckland and around the North Island, a state of emergency has once again been called in Auckland and other parts of the North Island.

While we’re still able to go to work, or send our children to school (where possible) this means it’s time for us all to be “extra cautious”.

If you’re feeling, “ARGH, NOT AGAIN’ upset/angry/distressed by today’s events, we understand! While below, we have a lot of different ways you can assist your local community if there are people in need, we also recommend putting your own oxygen mask on first and giving yourself a bit of TLC.

We recommend checking in on this story, where Mike King gave his top five pieces of advice for looking after your mental health, and this one with Caralee Fontenele who is all about nourishing your body and mind to boost your emotional and mental health.

Maybe it’s time to just go home and watch a few episodes of Ted Lasso?

Whatever you do, be sure to be kind to yourself – and to others (particularly if you’re out on the roads!)

If you have a community group you think would be helpful to be added on here, please email [email protected] and we will do our best to update it. Stay safe and look after each other x

If You Have Time…

Help clean up: Student Volunteer Army is compiling a list of volunteers who are able to help across the North Island, whether it’s for clean-up, welfare checks or helping in the civil defence centres.

Check in with your local community’s Facebook page: These pages can be a godsend for offering personal, practical help and support to people who live close to you. For information on how to find your community Facebook page, the Civil Defence has a good area-by-area guide, which includes civil defence shelters but also community pages.

Offer home comforts: For people who are either out of their homes, or in damaged/damp homes, the home comforts of a hot meal and a hot shower can be easier to offer if you don’t have room for extra people in your house.

Look after someone’s kid: With schools and day cares shut again, that’s another load for parents to think about. If you’ve got the time and ability to child care for a few hours, it will be invaluable.

Look after someone’s pet: Temporary housing is being set up for people who can’t live in their homes but there are mixed rules on whether pets are allowed. If you’re a pet lover who’s got some extra room, can you take on some pets in need for a week or two and buy their owners some peace of mind?

Sit with them: In Rob Delaney’s excellent book A Heart That Hurts, he talks about how some of the best help he got when his young son died was from people who came round and sat with him when he was in the thick of his grief. If there are no practical options to be helpful for someone you know in need, don’t underestimate the power of a cup of tea and a shoulder to cry on – no advice or platitudes needed.

Check in with vulnerable people: A lot of people are still living with unreliable power or water and may need more help than they’re willing to ask for. If you have people in your community that could benefit from a phone call or a visit, and you can safely do it, it will make a big difference.

Check in with your friends and loved ones: Don’t underestimate the combined impact of the floods, the Civil Defence alerts and the sudden stay-at-home order will have on people who struggled during the lockdowns, not to mention the cumulative impact on people from areas that are often hit by historic floods (e.g. Northland, Coromandel). A lot of people – including you! – will be feeling extra fragile and/or exhausted this week and will need all the kindness they can get.

If You Have Money…

Support your local food bank: Find out where your local food bank is here and then see how you can donate or support them.

Support the Red Cross: A special disaster fund has been set up to help get urgent supplies to those in areas of the North Island that have been inundated by the cyclone’s impact. You can donate here.

Support the Tairāwhiti Coastal Communities: One of the hardest hit areas by the cyclone, this cyclone relief fundraiser has been set up by Manaaki Matakāoa, a community-led group which is able to help out those who need it most – but they need the funds to do so. You can support them here.

Support the BBM*: South Auckland is one of the hardest hit areas of Auckland and BBM are helping feed, clothe and house those affected. You can support them here.

Support the Cyclone Gabrielle Community Givealittle: Set up by Stuff to support both the Red Cross and the Mayoral Relief Funds in areas where a local state of emergency has been declared including Northland, Auckland, Tairāwhiti, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, and Hawkes Bay. Their new fundraising goal is $2m, after they smashed their $1m goal in a day.

Support The Kindness Collective*: A community-led collective that has ties to vulnerable family and communities, the KC are offering on-the-ground supplies and support around Auckland. (Check out our interview with the founder here for more information).

Support the West Auckland food bank: The impact on West Auckland has been huge and the effect is ongoing. You can help the Care Waitākere food bank by directly donating here.

Support the Auckland City Mission: Give someone in need a warm, comforting meal for $12 a pop by donating here.

Support the Student Volunteer Army: Helping co-ordinate volunteers across the North Island for flood support – including the mammoth clean-up effort required and organising welfare checks, you can donate to help their efforts.

If You Have Supplies…

Support The Kindness Collective*: The KC is supporting communities with supply drop-offs.

Support new parents at Warming Hearts: Drop off supplies for parents of newborns/young babies in Auckland with clothing from newborn to six months and baby supplies.

Support Nurturing Families*: Nurturing Families are collecting toiletries, kids’ entertainment items and snack foods, and Give A Kid A Blanket is collecting blankets, bedding and non-perishable goods.

* These organisations are doing large scale drop-offs and care packages, so if you work for a company that has the resources to do big donations of in-demand supplies, that is a great way to help (just double check with their Facebook pages for up-to-the-minute information on what they need).

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