Helping those in need in Puerto Rico, California, and other disaster-struck areas.

I'd love to hear how the Food52 community has been helping families stranded without water, food, and the basic comforts of home in places struck by all of the devastating natural disasters of the past few weeks. If any of you has advice from your local community, I'm eager to hear it and appreciate any wisdom you can share—thank you.

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Illisidi
Illisidi October 15, 2017

I live about 60 miles from Sonoma, a bit too far for me to deliver help, however, my friend's neice who lives much closer made gluten free food and took it to a location giving food out to victims. But she was turned away because her home made food didn't go through any safety regulations. : ( So my friend suggested just leaving it outside of the shelter, people would come and get it. Most likely in these situations, people with specific diatary needs are not able to maintain their diet properly. This is a good place to offer extra help.

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Kristen Miglore
Kristen Miglore October 16, 2017

Thanks so much, Illisidi—great point. If you hear of any other updates, please let me know. I hope the air is clearing near you.

702551
702551 October 16, 2017

Having home cooked food turned down by relief organizations and soup kitchens is pretty commonplace here in California. Very few of these groups want to assume the liability of serving something with unknown food handling provenance.

This is nothing new.

Most restaurants are unable to donate leftover cooked food, like for Thanksgiving or Christmas. And restaurants are staffed by people who have California state mandated food handling certificates.

At least from a food perspective, if you want to help out and you are local, either donate some of your time (like bagging groceries at the local food bank) or donating non-perishable food. Most relief organizations have difficulty storing and distributing perishable food items which is why these places mostly deal with shelf-stable non-perishables.

If you are not local, the best thing to do is to donate cash or fully appreciated negotiable securities (to organizations who are set up to accept such donations).

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