I was devastated to hear about the attacks on Paris on Friday night. I have mentioned before on this blog that Paris is my favorite city in Europe. I had such a great time the three times I’ve visited France. So it saddens me that a place that has brought me joy is now suffering.
Having lived in New York during 9/11, I know how terrifying it can be when your city is under attack. Then, after the incident, there is the difficult waiting period as news from loved ones slowly trickles in. I am sending all the good vibes I can to the people of Paris, and those with friends and family in the city.
But there are things all of us can do in this terrible situation. Here’s a list of ways you can help people in Paris:
The Red Cross – If you are based in France you can donate to The French Red Cross who are still working around the clock to help victims and their families. If, like me, you don’t live in France you cannot donate directly to the French Red Cross. You can donate to the international charity, but do bear in mind that donations go toward their overall efforts around the world, not specifically the Paris victims.
Donate Locally – There are a few French charities that you can donate to if you want a more direct way to help victims. Secours populaire française and Cecours Catholique-Caritas France are both charities who regularly help the impoverished and are currently aiding victims of the attack. There is also a charity called Restaurants du Cœur, aka Restaurants of Love, which distributes meals to the needy.
Offer Shelter – If you are based in Paris, the hashtag #PorteOuvre, which means open door, is being used to offer a place to stay for those who have been affected by France’s closed borders. The hashtag #strandedinUS is the American equivalent for people offering their homes to French tourists who cannot fly back home. Search those hashtags on Twitter to see who might need help.
Check In – Facebook has launched its safety check feature in the wake of the Paris disaster. Which allows people in the affected area to let friends and family know of their status following the attack. You can also show your support on Facebook and Twitter by changing your profile picture to include a photo of Paris or use the flag overlay that both sites are providing.
Pray – I’m not a particularly religious person, but I do believe in the power of prayer. In fact, there are even some scientific studies which find prayer is beneficial to those being prayed for. I think it’s worth a shot.