All it took was one incident, and Ferguson, Missouri become a news story. Since the shooting of Michael Brown on August 9, the town has been plunged into the national spotlight with cameras and riots filling the streets.
However, amidst all of the unrest are the town residents who are just trying to get by. In response, a number of organizations are providing assistance to Ferguson residents, determined to bring normalcy to their lives and bring change to the country.
Here are some of ways you can help.
1. Provide food to the children.
Due to the current situation, Ferguson schools delayed opening until August 25. When the 11,000 Ferguson students aren’t in classrooms, they also miss the federal free lunch program for all students that was starting this year.
As we reported earlier this week, a North Carolina public school teacher has responded by starting a Fundly campaign that donates 100 percent of the proceeds to the St. Louis Area Foodbank. Already more than $146,000 has been raised. Click here to contribute.
2. Advocate against police brutality.
Although the details of the incident are hazy, many people are proposing that stricter measures for police officers. Currently, a petition is circulating the internet offering a wide range of solutions to this problem. Some examples include requiring on-duty officers to wear forward-facing cameras as well making the shooting and killing of unarmed citizens who don’t have a violent crime arrest warrant out for them a federal offense. Click here to find out more about the petition and what you can do.
3. Support the Brown family.
While the family grieves and looks for justice, they also need assistance with legal, burial and travel costs. You can learn more about the Michael Brown Memorial Fund here.
4. Help the library that’s helping the people.
In the midst of all the turmoil, the Ferguson Municipal Library is acting a safe haven for residents. Not only can they go there for a break, but also teachers use the facility as a place to read to students and offer activities. For its part, the library is giving out water and allowing computer access.  Support the library by clicking here.
5. Give assistance to looted businesses.
After nights of looting, more than 30 businesses are trying to pick up the pieces (literally). Between stolen goods and destroyed shops, these businesses wonder how they will survive. Which is why the St. Louis Regional Business Council has started a fund to help these businesses get back on their feet. All donations can be sent to:
North County Regional Development Association
350B Village Square Drive
Hazelwood, MO 63042
6. Provide a safe learning environment for children.
In lieu of the public school system, Wellspring Church is offering itself as an alternative. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the church provides educational activities, counseling and free lunch. Click here to help fund these activities.
7. Support the healing process.
For Ferguson residents, counseling is just as important as food. So, to help, the United Way of Greater St. Louis has started the Ferguson Fund, which will cover mental health needs, counseling, community building and anything else the town needs. To learn more and contribute, click here.
MORE: With Ferguson in Turmoil, Teachers are Cleaning Up the Mess