Updated: The Red Cross is asking for immediate help with blood donations.

Hold on for one week. Mark your calendars to check in and donate on Election Day, November 6, 2012. I know the urge will be to immediately try to find ways to help, but here’s the rub of any natural disaster: the greatest needs will become apparent once recovery is underway and the true extent of damage can be assessed. Give responders, rescuers, and people a chance to see how bad it really is.

If you want to prepare to help, follow the American Red Cross and listen to what guidance they give on the recovery zones. You can, of course, donate to their disaster relief fund now, but there may be other needs that become more apparent only after some time has passed.

For example, this is the Northeast. A lot of families lost their homes during the hurricane. As a result, they may not have winter clothing. That’s not apparent right now, but in about a week it will be very apparent that they will have critical needs – and the media’s attention will have moved away to the election. So if you want to help, please be patient so your help can do the greatest good possible.

That said, if you feel that you must help right now, make a donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

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