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How to Help Your Neighbor After a Flood or Fire

Mr Restore serves a variety of communities in Texas, from Fort Worth to Dallas to Plano. Something special about these communities are the member’s willingness to support each other, especially those in need. If a a friend or someone in your neighborhood loses everything due to a home flood or fire damage, you likely will want to help in any way you can. A few simple items from friends, neighbors, and relatives can help them survive a devastating time. Knowing the right items to donate will help them remain safe and comfortable through the next days, weeks and even months.

The first thing to consider when donating to a family who has suffered a disaster is where they will be staying while Mr Restore restores their home. The needs of flood or fire survivors depend on where they are staying afterword. Consider if they are living:

  • With relatives
  • At a hotel
  • At a Red Cross shelter
  • In temporary housing
  • In new permanent housing

Where they stay will depend on if they owned or rented the home that was damaged and whether they had renters or homeowners insurance.

Here are the top eight items someone whose house flooded or burned down might need.

  1. New Socks and Underwear

They will need the most basic items after the flood or fire. Socks and undergarments are the most requested items by victims.

  1. Clothing

It’s possible that a family that suffered a flood or fire may have escaped with only the clothes on their backs. Even the most prepared families cannot predict a fire or flood. The clothes and shoes left behind may have been destroyed or badly damaged. Don’t buy or give your used clothes to them unless the survivor is someone close to you (like a relative). It tends to be overwhelming to get tons of clothes in random sizes. We recommend giving them a gift card to a store, so they can find items that fit.

  1. Toiletries

Survivors need personal hygiene essentials in the immediate aftermath of a flood or fire. They have many other important things to deal with and may forget essentials such hygiene products. They may need:

  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine products
  • Pain Reliever
  • Diapers/ Wipes

The family might also need a few other items depending on where they are staying, such as:

  • Soap
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Toilet paper
  • Washcloths/  Towels
  • Blankets

They might not need all those items, so it’s best to ask.

  1. Seasonal Necessities

The family might need season-specific items while their home is being cleaned and restored. For example, they may need:

  • Umbrella, Jackets or a Portable Fan
  1. Healthy Food

You should consider donating food to the family. Try to steer clear of items that need to be refrigerated, though. Non-perishable items are best but keep in mind dietary restrictions, food allergies, and preferences of the family. It is often best to avoid cooking or donating the wrong foods by giving a gift card instead. Gift cards to grocery stores or restaurants are very helpful. You could even try supplying some inexpensive staples, like a relaxing tea or strong coffee.

  1. For the Kids

Don’t forget about the children! They will have likely lost many of their own personal possessions. Some of the usual things to donate to kids include:

  • Dolls
  • Books
  • Sports items
  • Board games
  • Puzzles
  • Arts and crafts items
  • Bicycles
  • Stuffed animals
  • Learning toys
  • Baby toys/Formula /Bottles 
  1. Pots and Pans

Survivors usually move into a temporary or new, permanent housing after a flood or fire. They will likely need new cookware (especially if you donated food!). Donating a new set of pots and pans could make a big difference.

8. Furniture

The family will need furniture once they have settled into their new home. This includes everything that fills a house, from a couch to a dining room table to a new TV. They will be starting from scratch- depending on what may have been damaged in the loss.  Insurance may be able to help recover the loss of items by providing funds to purchase replacement furniture. 

Keep in mind that donations, especially large items like appliances, electronics, or furniture, can end up making extra work for the overwhelmed survivors. We recommend asking them if they need them vs bringing it to them since they are the ones who have to:

  • Sort through them
  • Figure out what to do with them
  • Find a place to store them until they’re ready to move into housing

Gift cards, on the other hand, are small, light and give the recipient more control.

Here at Mr. Restore, we work diligently to help flood and fire victims get back into their home as quickly as possible. In the meantime, giving to those who have suffered a loss will help them and make you feel good, too! If your family suffers from a fire or flood, immediately contact Mr Restore. We are available 24/7 and can be at your property in 60 minutes!