Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida as a Category 4, nearly Category 5 storm, leaving 750,000 people without power and at least two people dead.
The storm, with winds up to 155 mph, left behind a large path of destruction, bringing flash floods, downing trees and power lines, and wrecking homes and businesses.
Early Thursday, Michael was downgraded to a tropical storm. Recovery efforts have begun. Those who were in the path of the hurricane or had to evacuate can let loved ones know they are safe on Facebook’s Safety Check or the American Red Cross Safe and Well page. Family and friends can also use these sites to check on affected loved ones.
Here is how the public can help the victims of hurricane Michael.
Blood drives across the country are holding drives to help victims. The American Red Cross is reporting a critical need for blood and blood platelet donations. Red Cross drives can be located on the American Red Cross Blood Services website.
LifeSouth, a community blood center in Alabama, Florida and Georgia, is also holding blood drives, including mobile ones. They can be located on the LifeSouth website.
Habitat for humanity is assisting with long-term recovery efforts. "Donations will be used to respond to families affected by Hurricane Michael until Habitat for Humanity's role in meeting the need is met, at which time funds will be used for Habitat's disaster response efforts where most needed," the organization said. Donations can be made at the Habitat for Humanity website.
Fundraising site GoFundMe created a general relief fund with a $50,000 goal to directly help storm victims.
"Funds raised on this campaign will be managed by The Direct Impact Fund, an independent, registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization" GoFundMe said. "The Direct Impact Fund collects and distributes funds to verified GoFundMe campaigns and aid organizations created to help those affected."
The American Red Cross is also taking donations.
People can also donate to the Florida Disaster Fund, which is the state of Florida’s official private fund to help communities recover from disasters and emergencies.
VolunteerFlorida is recruiting volunteers to register and help disaster response organizations in the state. Once registered, organizations like the Salvation Army or American Red Cross will reach out to qualified volunteers depending on need.