Whether the disaster or emergency is local, national or international ...

  • Remember Trained Volunteers of established disaster response organizations are generally called to serve first.
  • Unless you are already in the impacted area(s), you are encouraged to wait for instructions from local governmental authorities for your safety and the safety of those impacted.
  • Do Not Self-deploy. Consider joining and training with a disaster relief organization now

Thank you for the outpouring of support for those impacted by disaster.


Plan Now for the Unexpected  https://www.ready.gov


Give Wisely Following a disaster, please consider the following

Response can take days to weeks to months and recovery can take years. Devastation can take a variety of forms from personal to regional. 

Please know that your interest is appreciated. The safety and well-being of those impacted and the safety of volunteers are critical.

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)

Current Responses: https://www.nvoad.org/howtohelp/current-responses/

How to Help After a Tornado https://www.directrelief.org/2019/05/how-to-help-after-a-tornado/

Guidelines for Giving | US AID CIDI (Center for International Disaster Information) 



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


Volunteer Center

6310 Hillside Ct.
Columbia, MD 21046