How Can I Help Paris? Here Are Some Ways, Real And Symbolic, To Show Your Support

As the world reels from the Paris attacks that killed 129 people and injured several hundred others last week, many are wondering what, if anything, they can do to help.

If you would like to help Paris, here are some ways that you can help, both in a practical sense and strictly symbolically.

Donate Money

Several aid organizations in France have come to help out the victims of the Paris attacks, according to Mashable, most prominently, the French Red Cross (Croix-Rouge). According to the organization’s Facebook post, the agency has dispatched 300 volunteers to Paris to provide whatever aid they can.

“Teams from the French Red Cross were mobilized [Friday] night. Nearly 300 volunteers have begun providing aid to victims.”

You can donate to the Red Cross here, although, as Mashable writer Matt Petronzio notes, donations to the Red Cross go into a general fund and cannot be earmarked specifically for France or any other specific cause. Besides the Red Cross, another charitable organization already helping victims in Paris is Secours Populaire (Peoples Relief), an anti-poverty organization that also provides relief during disasters. In a tweet, agency president Julien Laupretre discussed the aftermath of the Paris attacks.

“The Peoples Relief is in mourning. The terrible tragedy that happened to Paris, which killed over 120 people and caused more than 200 injuries, on the night of November 13, has caused deep pain. In minutes, innocent life was cut short by these terrorist monsters…”

You can donate to Secours Populaire here.

Show Solidarity Via Social Media

Although largely a symbolic gesture, changing your Facebook profile pic to a French flag, or sharing such hashtags as #IStandWithParis on social media, sends a message to the people of France that they are not alone in their suffering.

If you happen to live in France — in particular, in or near Paris — here are some even more direct ways you can help.

#PorteOuvetre (Open Door)

Using the hashtag #PorteOuvetre, which translates to “Open Door,” Parisians are opening their homes, offering food and shelter to those who have been displaced by the tragedy. Similarly, other Europeans (and people all throughout the world) are opening their doors to Parisians who may not be able to get home.

Donating Blood

French blood donation centers have put out a nationwide call for donations, and the French have responded in kind.

Because donated blood has a limited shelf life, Paris blood donation centers are asking potential donors to consider waiting a while to donate in order to ensure a continuous, fresh supply. (After the tragic events of September 11, 2001, thousands of Americans generously donated their blood, lining up at blood donations centers throughout the country. However, as New York Magazine reported, so much blood in so short a time overwhelmed blood donation centers, and the vast majority of it had to be destroyed once it expired).

The Takeaway

As Fred Rogers, TV’s Mister Rogers, once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”

And while no amount of social media posts, or donations of money, will ever reclaim the lives of those lost in the Paris attacks, the generous outpouring of help and support shows that love and compassion rise above hate and extremism.

[Photo by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images]