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Following a disaster, please consider the following

As we have seen in Ellicott City, disaster can happen any time, any place.  Devastation can take a variety of forms from personal to regional.  Response can take days to weeks and recovery can take years.

Following a disaster, please consider the following as you investigate ways in which to assist those affected by disaster:

  • Do Not Self-Deploy
  • Volunteer Wisely: In communities struggling to respond to and recover from disasters, an influx of unexpected, un-requested, and unneeded volunteers can seriously complicate the process. BEFORE TRAVELING TO THE AREA TO HELP, learn whether volunteers are needed and if they are seeking specific skills.

  • Financial Contributions are Preferred: cash donations help to avoid the labor and expense of sorting, packing, transporting, storing, and distributing donated goods. Relief and response agencies can use cash to meet survivors' identified needs more quickly.

  • Donate through an established disaster relief, response, or recovery organization: information on reputable agencies responding to the disaster is typically available through news media and government websites or via press releases.

  • CONFIRM the need before collecting: donors should be wary of anyone who claims that "everything is needed." Groups can be disappointed when the goods they've collected aren't appreciated. Communities affected by disaster often do not have the time or resources to dispose of unneeded donations. Get precise information and confirm the need before collecting any donated good. Better yet, remember that financial contributions are preferred.

To learn more: 

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) 

National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations in Disaster)

Guidelines for Giving | US AID CIDI 


View opportunities related to disaster assistance.

The Howard County community has a variety of volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Visit volunteerhoward.org/calendar to view other community needs.


Volunteer Center

6310 Hillside Ct.
Columbia, MD 21046