As promised, I'm devoting today's blog post to letting you know about how you can help with the post-Irene cleanup. Like with any natural disaster or other large, life-changing situation, there's got to be a lot of money spent to help make things better now that it's over...and there's bound to be some lowlife scum who try to capitalize on this by pretending to be raising money for a good cause when that cause is really their own bank account.
Make no mistake, it's a mess. Flooding and ruined buildings, and I already commented on the (thankfully relatively small but nevertheless devastating) loss of life. But it wasn't as bad as it could be, and that's in no small part due to the excellent job done by authorities in preparing and evacuating and whatnot. Still, it's a mess, and one that we all have to clean up together.
Charity Navigator, which I know I've mentioned more than once on this blog, has a blog of their own and has a very helpful post listing several charities to which you can donate with complete faith that your money will be used to help those who were affected by the hurricane. I do want to give special props to the ASPCA, who mobilized to transplant shelter animals out of the path of danger. (In a similar vein, props go likewise to the shelters in New York, who welcomed household pets with open arms. Speaking as someone who would not go to a shelter if I couldn't bring my cats, I know how much this meant to a lot of people.)
But if you'd like to do something a bit more personal, a bit more direct, I do have one suggestion. This comes by way of sci-fi author John Scalzi, who I mentioned a while back as breaking open the Cooks Source scandal to the world. He linked his Twitter followers to the blog of fellow author Kate Messner, who wrote a post about a small-town library in the Adirondacks that's in desperate need of help. The Wells Memorial Library in Upper Jay, New York lost pretty nearly its entire children's collection to flooding, because the books were on low shelves where children could reach them and, unfortunately, so could floodwaters. So they're looking for donations of both money and books. Contact information is all in that blog post, along with that of a bookstore local to the library that knows exactly what they need and can help you make a donation that will really benefit the library.
Please spread the word - and if you know of any other projects like this one, send them my way!